Coal Impacts



The Extent of the Problem 
The Sydney Catchment Authority estimates that within 20 years 91% of the Special Areas will have been undermined for coal. The map below shows the coverage of coal mine leases in 2007 - it doesn't show for instance the significant extension of the Metropolitan Colliery granted to American coal giant Peabody Energy in 2009. The extension will take longwall mining back under the badly damaged Waratah Riveulet and under Woronora Lake.

Below the map is a tabulation of catchment damage assembled by the Colong FoundationRiversSOS have an extensive record of damage caused by mining across NSW, including the Special Areas. Their web site is here: http://riverssos.org.au/

The green clumps with dashed borders show the clustering of upland swamps (see also the map here) . The numbered arrows point to locations of significant damage.




Colong Foundation Tabulation of Longwall Coal Mining Damage 

 Colliery

 Area Affected

Depth of
Cover (m)

Panel
width (m)

Pillar
width (m)

 Damage

 Elouera
 1993-2000

 Wongawilli and
 Native Dog Creeks

340

185

40

 Creek beds cracked, pools and creeks dry.
 Two swamps collapsed and eroded away.

 Appin
 1997-99

 Cataract Tunnel

460

206.2

32.8

 Shear stress fractures, cracks in wall and roof.

 Appin
 1999-

 Cataract Tunnel

520

255.4

32.8

 Greater shear stress fractures and cracks in wall and roof.

 Tower
 1988-92

 Cataract River

430

110

40

 Some damage.

 Tower
 1992-94 

 Cataract River

430

155

40

 River bed extensively cracked, river dry, water pollution downstream.

 Tower
 1994-00

 Cataract River

430

207

40

 Greater bed cracking, river dry, more water pollution.

  Westcliff  Georges River 400-500 250 35  River bed pollution, river dry, water pollution downstream.
 Bulli
 1980s
 Cataract Reservoir 230 80 60  No damage.
 Bulli
 1990s
 Cataract Reservoir 320 110 60  No damage.
 Metropolitan
 2006
 Waratah Rivulet 158  Rivulet bed pollution, river dry, water pollution downstream. Flat Rock Swamp destroyed.
 Dendrobium
 Area 1
 Lake Cordeaux
 and streams
145-310 183 40  Soil slumps, rock toppling, cliff falls into stored
 waters, creek and rainforest damage.
 Dendrobium
 Area 2
 Lake Cordeaux
 and streams
105-360 225 35  Metre-wide crevasses, soil slumps, rock toppling, creek and rainforest damage.
 Dendrobium
 Area 3
 Wongawilli Creek
 and other streams
300-400 305 35 Predicted creek beds cracked, creeks and upland swamps
 drained, water pollution downstream.