We need rigorous and transparent regulation of local mining
Update May 2021 - South32's Final incident report
The final incident report is here, "the cause of the event was the corrosion and subsequent failure of the clean water diversion pipe that is located beneath the sediment pond" P 5.
Update April 2021 - Penalty Notice issued with fine
The EPA has fined South32 a token amount of $15,000 based on inadequate science. See ABC report here.
Given that a citizen can be fined $8,000 for pouring paint into a drain — when a coal company releases 10 megalitres of coal sludge into a suburban creek we suggest a fine of $8,000,000 would be proportionate.
We have obtained the Environmental Assessment of Dendrobium coal pollution into Brandy and Water Creek. It shows that the culvert under the dam collapsed, blowing out 339 cubic metres of gravel and creaking a giant void in the bottom of the sediment dam. This has come to light because Jess Whittaker lodged a GIPA application with the EPA.
Back in August 2020, Wollongong Council unanimously backed the Greens motion to "Write to the Minister for the Environment to appeal for a robust and comprehensive investigation of the breach of the Dendrobium water discharge license, including a comprehensive clean-up of the pollution residue, and public and transparent reporting on the quantity and quality of the pollutants, and what actions are being undertaken to prevent further pollution incidents."
This Environmental Assessment Report still leaves many questions unanswered – like why the culvert collapsed, and why analysis wasn’t done for all heavy metals found in coal fines. Please share if you want to see stricter and more transparent mine regulation.
You can download the assessment report here.