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Dendrobium mine expansion plan still poses unacceptable risks to drinking water and climate

The Nature Conservation Council has urged the NSW Planning Department to reject the expansion of Dendrobium coal mine in Sydney’s drinking water catchment. [See submission attached.]  

South32’s previous application to expand the mine was rejected by the Independent Planning Commission in 2021 because of unacceptable long-term, irreversible impacts on the city’s water supply.   

The company has modified and resubmitted its proposal, which the Planning Department is now considering, along with public submissions. [1]  

“The problem is that the fundamental concerns have not been addressed,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.    

“The project poses an intolerable threat to a reliable clean water source for Sydney’s ever-growing population.   

“The nature and climate impacts of this project are also unacceptable. The project would triple the mine’s direct greenhouse gas emissions and could damage 16 endangered swamps.  

“The only responsible outcome is for the Planning Department to protect the city’s clean water supply by rejecting the proposal.”  

Mr Gambian said the mine’s projected climate emissions would undermine the NSW Government’s target of net-zero emissions and international efforts to keep the climate safe.  

“The United Nations has warned there is no place for new coal mines if the world is to have any hope of keeping global heating to safe levels,” Mr Gambian said.  

“We have entered a critical period in human history where every decision we make about coal and gas counts.   

“The future of our climate and human society depends on a thousand small decisions like the one the Planning Department will make regarding Dendrobium in coming weeks.  

“There is no room for error — we can’t afford to get any more of these decisions wrong.”   




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