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We intend to stop coal mining in Berrima and the Southern Highlands in order to protect groundwater, the environment, air quality, heritage significance, our sustainable economy and the visual beauty of Berrima and its bushland surrounds. As an organisation, we be using the legislative process, legal channels and public support to prevent POSCO/Hume Coals proposed Coal Mine near Berrima in the Southern Highlands. We are a peaceful and law abiding organisation and do not advocate the use of any unlawful behaviour against individuals or organisations that do not share our goals.
HUME COALS PROPOSAL TO MINE THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS CAN BE STOPPED.
Wrong Mine. Wrong Place
ITS NOT TOO LATE
In July 2015 Hume Coal, wholly owned by Koreas POSCO, announced it will lodge plans with the NSW to build a Mine Head at Berrima to commence large scale coal mining under the Southern Highlands.
If approved, this proposal may affect:
Air quality potentially dangerous dust particulates will be spread over our communities
Water groundwater may be drawn down up to 90 metres over an area of 300 square kilometres according to Humes own information
Environment toxic coal washing sludge containing mine reject material will be pumped into mine voids under the sandstone aquifer, potentially poisoning groundwater, affecting viability of agriculture and farming activity as well as threatening food security
Jobs Existing long-term jobs and a sustainable economy in the Highlands are at risk with Hume proposing only short term economic benefits
We want you to join us and help convince our politicians that this proposal is totally unacceptable. How will the Southern Highlands and Berrima be affected?
DANGEROUS COAL DUST
Part of the Hume Coal plan includes a 6-storey high, 800-metre long coal stockpile placed on Berrimas doorstep. It will be exposed to the elements, including prevailing winds, for the twenty years the mine will operate. All of us, families, children, residents across the Highlands, risk being exposed to dangerous micro coal particulates, for which there is no minimum safe level of exposure. These coal dust particles, the size of bacteria, travel vast distances and are capable of entering homes. Research has proven that coal dust is associated with increased mortality rates, asthma, respiratory illness, chronic dermatitis, difficulty breathing, headaches and mental-health symptoms. The communities of Medway, Berrima, New Berrima, Bowral, Burradoo and Moss Vale face potentially serious health impacts from airborne dust contamination with young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.
GROUNDWATER DRAW DOWN
A SHCAG groundwater study, peer reviewed by the University of NSW Water Research Lab, estimates that the groundwater will be lowered by up to 150 metres over an area of 200 square kilometres or more. Hume Coal admits to a 90 metre drawdown over the mined area but goes further, admitting that water drawdown impacts extend 5 or more kilometres beyond the mine, an area of over 300 square kilometres. Landowners in the district and beyond may have their groundwater bores and water sources run dry or be seriously compromised.
POTENTIAL DRINKING WATER IMPACTS
Our local drinking water and feeder streams could suffer from significant water loss affecting Medway Reservoir which supplies 8,200 residents in Berrima, Bowral and Mittagong with their drinking water. Any mining in its vicinity could compromise the reservoir, including the contamination of watercourses by coal particulate.
Existing long-term jobs and a sustainable economy in the Highlands are at risk with Hume proposing only short term economic benefits. The 300 permanent jobs Hume claims it will create could mainly go to experienced mine workers from outside the district and must be balanced against job losses resulting from the mines impacts. ABS statistics show investment in mining results in poor employment returns. Agriculture delivers 3.7 jobs per $1 million, Health delivers 8.47 jobs per $1 million, but mining creates just 1.02 jobs per $1 million.
Because the coal sits right under the fragile sandstone aquifer, removing the coal is like taking a plug out of a bath. This could result in between 5 (1,200 x Olympic swimming pools) and 22 gigalitres per year flooding into the mine and being polluted with toxins. A gigalitre is one billion litres of water. Toxic rejects from the mining process, will be pumped back underground and could permanently mix with our groundwater and affecting that of Sydney basin. Hume Coals plan to re-inject toxic coal slurry, from the coal washing process, into underground voids beneath the aquifer system, could create serious groundwater pollution issues for us and 4.2 million residents downstream in Sydney. If this toxic slurry mixes with groundwater, it could greatly increase the risk of toxins entering the human food chain through the watering of stock and crops as well as contaminating the Hawkesbury basin.
8 TRAINS, WITH 44 COAL WAGONS EACH, CROSSING THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS DAILY
Hume Coals operations will see some 352-coal wagons criss-cross the Southern Highlands every day of the week. This will create issues from New Berrima and Moss Vale through to Glenquarry, Burrawang, Robertson and into the Illawarra. Impacts include:
Train noise 24/7
Disruption at rail crossings
Delay to scheduled passenger services
Potential coal dust release in communities on the line.
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JOIN OUR MAILING LIST (sourced 14/1/2022 from Wayback Machine https://web.archive.org/web/20160528193102/http://www.battleforberrima.com.au/#purpose)