Sydney’s water an acceptable risk for 13 years of coal

The proposed Springvale coal mine extension has been recommended for approval by the Planning and Assessment Commission, but has yet to jump through state and federal government hoops, as well as claims it will affect Sydney's water supply.

Located near Sydney’s main reservoir, the Warragamba Dam, Centennial Coal can expect their underground mine will face staunch opposition from environmental groups, who claim Sydney’s water quality will be affected.

According to the commission, the Springvale mine is the only coal mine supplying the Mt Piper Power Station, responsible for supplying 15 per cent of the NSW energy supply.

"The Commission is satisfied that the project's benefits as currently understood outweigh its potential impacts, and on balance is approvable,” the report said.

The extension will extend the life of the Springfield Mine by 13 years, and will produce about 4.5 million tonnes per year.

Colong Foundation for Wilderness director Keith Muir said NSW Environmental Protection Authority had outlined their opposition to the expansion due to potential to drain sensitive swamps, cause damage to the Cox’s river and raise salt levels in Lake Burragong by 5-6 per cent.

"The Springvale expansion project will continue to be opposed to the bitter end by environmental groups due to its impact on its nationally significant swamps, which will be undermined," Muir said.

"And [there is] the discharge of very large amounts of saline water into the Coxs River that flows through the Blue Mountains World Heritage area to Warragamba Dam, Sydney's main water supply."

The PAC report said there were three key issues that require further consideration, including the final plan of action in relation to discharge impacts on Cox’s River, adaptive management options and offset policy provisions in relation to the impact on swamps, and resolving some of the uncertainty regarding non-conventional subsidence effects.

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