People Power in Action


































The Wyong Experiment
The Wallarah 2 Coal Project
Wyong Water Catchment Valleys


Is the Central Coast community nothing more than laboratory rats?


Longwall coal mining beneath the Dooralong and Yarramalong valleys has the potential to adversely compromise the integrity of water systems, both surface and subsurface.

There is substantive and compelling evidence that subsidence can cause the loss of our water catchment.

At the June 2006 Wallarah 2 Coal Project community liaison meeting, Mr Graham Cowan, a senior engineer with the Department of Primary Industries, said this about subsidence predications and subsequent damage: “Until it (the longwall coal mine) is mined you won’t know, things will change and they will be dealt with.

A serious question now arises: "If a senior mining engineer cannot give a definitive answer as to expected subsidence damage from the Wallarah 2 Coal Project, why should it even be considered?" 


Northern Geoscience Report


The Wallarah 2 Coal Project said on their web page about the Northern Geoscience Report:

"There has been some media coverage on this issue where it has been suggested that this project is the same as the Sydney Gas Project and that a report had been done which supposedly proves that underground mining will cause loss of groundwater and flows in rivers. This is not correct. The report undertaken by Northern Geosciences on behalf of the Australian Gas Alliance speculated on the potential effects of gas production wells in the Dooralong Valley.

A response to this report has been made by the Department of Primary Industries. Irrespective of the scientific validity of the report, the fact remains that the proposed Wallarah No 2 Coal Project will be extracting coal at considerable depths where the only groundwater to enter the mine will be saline."

ACA Response

  • There has never been any suggestion in the media that this project is the same as Sydney Gas.

  • The report dealt with the problems that would arise from 200 or more gas wells being built in the Dooralong and Yarramalong Valleys and the impact that it would have on the underground water systems.

  • The response from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) did not deal with the issue of 200 or more gas wells, but only focused on two (2) test wells that were being drilled and their likely impact.

  • The conclusions drawn by the DPI were not valid in respect of Sydney Gas' intentions, that was to build more than two (2) wells. This fact was made very clear to Kores (the mining company who owns the Wallarah 2 project) at the community liaison committee meeting by community member Mr Warrick O'Rourke (retired environmental lawyer).

  • According to a report by Salient Solutions Australia Pty Ltd, water from the aquifers is at risk, and is finding its way into the coal measures beneath the Wyong water catchment valleys.


Other questions posed on the Wallarah 2 web site


What happens to rivers and waterways?

Wallarah 2 response
"There are a few, though well documented cases of underground mining causing impacts on rivers and creeks . . . While any such risk of permanent damage to waterways is considered very low, the company acknowledges that it will be fully responsible for repairing any damage that may be caused. . . . Any damage must be fully remediated as soon as practicable."

ACA Response

  • Many rivers and creeks have disappeared from subsidence damage, including extensive damage to the Sydney metropolitan water supply rivers and creeks. There are numerous scientific and commissioned reports that verify this irreparable damage.

  • Despite the best efforts of the mining companies, stream bed damage repairs have been unsuccessful. Being responsible for repairing the damage means absolutely nothing . . . once the water has gone, it's gone forever.

  • The question of remediating "any damage as soon as practical" is highly suspect and an erroneous claim. Existing evidence clearly demonstrates that subsidence damage to streams, including aquifers, cannot be repaired.

  • What does "as soon as practical" refer to? At the completion of the mining lease in 42 years? It is not a time-specific commitment by the mining company.

  • Damage to rivers and creeks may be considered low to the mining company, but it is a high priority for the Central Coast community who depend on the Dooralong and Yarramalong Valleys for 53% of their water catchment area.

  • See Rivers of Shame media story on the impact longwall coal mining had on Diega Creek in Lake Macquarie district. Cracking of the riverbed from subsidence caused the water to disappear into the mine. Despite attempts to remediate the damage, it has been unsuccessful and Diega Creek is now a dry river bed.


Will any groundwater enter the mine?

Wallarah 2 response
Yes, however this water exists within and just above the coal seam. No surface water will enter the mine as a result of mining."

ACA Response

  • The mining company claim that the geology is different. Their claim is that because the strata above the coal seam is tightly packed, surface and subsurface aquifers (that feed the river systems) cannot enter the mine. This statement is incorrect. According to the report by Salient Solutions Australia Pty Ltd, water from the aquifers is at risk, and is finding its way into the coal measures beneath the Wyong water catchment valleys.

  • Subsidence damage causes cracking all the way to the surface. This will provide conduits for ground water and subsurface aquifers to travel down into the mine.


Will the Mine affect the water supply catchment?

Wallarah 2 response
The project will in fact increase the total usable water for both the community and the environment. We will be installing a water treatment plant which will treat saline water contained in the coal seam making it available for other purposes. The final uses of this excess water will ultimately be determined by the government.

ACA Response

  • The mining company's response does not even attempt to answer their own question. All it does is talk about alleged uses of saline water from the mine.

    The question now has to be asked: "Where will all this water come from?"


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