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Time to ban mining in all drinking water catchments in NSW

The Nature Conservation Council calls for a legislated ban on mining in all drinking water catchments in NSW following the Independent Planning Commission’s decision to reject the Dendrobium coal mine expansion today. 

“The Dendrobium decision is a victory for commonsense and for the many people who have campaigned for years to protect our water supplies,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.  

“It should signal the beginning of the end of coal mining in Sydney’s precious drinking water catchment but the threat remains. 

“That’s why the NSW Government should legislate a ban on mining in all drinking water catchments in NSW to ensure coal mines can never again threaten the security of our drinking water supplies. 

“Coal mining drains billions of litres of water out of the metropolitan catchment every year, enough to supply thousands of homes in Sydney and the Illawarra. 

“Such waste is inexcusable at a time when coal mining is also worsening heatwaves and bushfires though climate change. To have approved this mine expansion would have been a grave mistake. 

“Unfortunately, this is not the only threat from coal mining to important water resources and habitat, including the Angus Place expansion near Lithgow and plans to tunnel uner Woronora Reservoir.” 

Mr Gambian said the decision reflected poorly on the NSW Planning Department, which had recommended the expansion be approved despite serious risks to water, rare swamplands and Aboriginal heritage. 

“The Planning Department has time and again put the interests of coal companies ahead of local communities and the environment,” he said.  

“There should be a review of the department’s processes to determine how it could have so enthusiastically endorsed this proposal, which was clearly not in the public interest.”