People Power in Action
































  Chain Valley Bay
Under threat again from coal mining
  Coal Mine Causes Subsidence Fears

TV News Clip - 9 February 2010.


THE Australia Coal Alliance has spread its wings to help residents living in the northern suburbs of Wyong Shire in their fight against LDO Coal. Known as the 'Australian Coal Alliance - Northern Division', its membership will consist of local residents who can draw upon the resources and expertise of the parent body.

A stark reminder of previous coal mining damage at Chain Valley Bay - Karignan Creek, which ran adjacent to the wetlands, was subjected to subsidence causing a rise in water level on the northern side of the creek. As a result, thousands of eucalypts died when salt water from the creek permanently invaded the area.

Chain Valley Bay was undermined previously by the since-closed Newvale Colliery and became the site of a major mine subsidence controversy in 1987, which ruined the wetland and damaged homes and infrastructure. Since then, the damage to many homes and the area has not been adequately compensated by the NSW State Government through the Mine Subsidence Board. This has caused untold heartbreak and financial hardship to home owners, who still feel that they were abandoned by all tiers of government and in particular the mining company.

The communities across Mannering Park, Chain Valley Bay, Lake Munmorah and Gwandalan/Summerland Point feel that enough is enough. They are sick and tied of being treated with contempt and given the same old shallow rhetoric - "trust us, we're a mining company." People are dismayed and fear a repetition of the Chain Valley Bay South disaster.

The new owners of the Chain Valley coalmine want to expand the mine into two seams under residential areas of Chain Valley Bay, Gwandalan and Summerland Point and mine for the next 21-years. Peter Ross, operations director for the mining company, said “We are aware there have been concerns but we do not intend to have a negative impact on the community.” The same old song and dance performance given by the previous miners to allay community fears, but history tells another story.

These areas have already been mined two or three times in the Wallarah, Chain Valley and Great Northern seams and there is fear that a fourth working of the Fassifern seam or a re-working of the Great Northern seam will have serious repercussions on homes, particularly if the company use full extraction or longwall mining methodologies. Residents quite rightly fear that the higher seams may collapse into the seam below with catastrophic terrestrial subsidence. Existing homes have been built for the potential of mine subsidence in the current worked seams, not strengthened for subsidence from future mining.

A house disappeared into a mine at Catherine Hill Bay and homes have been seriously damaged at Buff Point from previous mining activities.

In Coal and Allied’s submission under Part 3A for a residential development at Gwandalan, whole swathes of the land was quarantined from any building type beyond a single storey and lightweight material because of the existing fragility of the surface to withstand mine subsidence.

Communities don't trust mining companies and have good reasons not to! The bottom line is that this new proposal is profit generated and local communities will always come in a poor second when the "holy dollar" is involved.