The Russell Vale Colliery is an underground coal mine west of Russell Vale. The mine has been in operation since the 1880s - using various methods to mine different coal seams. It mines beneath the Special Areas of the Greater Sydney Water Catchment.

Russell Vale Colliery is operated by Wollongong Coal Ltd (WCL), which has been listed on the Australian stock exchange, although it applied to be removed from official listing on the ASX in July 2020.  The majority shareholder in WCL is Jindal Steel and Power Mauritius Ltd, which is in turn 100% owned by Indian company Jindal Steel and Power.

Wollongong Coal has been in the headlines this year regarding an investigation by the Resources Regulator into whether or not it is "fit and proper" to carry a mining license. The company was also forced to close its Wongawilli Coal mine in 2019 due to safety concerns after a "series of roof collapses".

WOLLONGONG COAL RUSSELL VALE COLLIERY

RUSSELL VALE COLLIERY EXPANSION PROPOSAL

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2020: RUSSELL VALE EXPANSION PROPOSAL SET TO GO BEFORE THE NSW INDEPENDENT PLANNING COMMISSION, FOLLOWING STRONG COMMUNITY OPPOSITION

The Russell Vale Underground Expansion Project would mine predominantly metallurgical (coking) coal for steel making, with some thermal coal as a by-product.  All the coal is exported.

 

Wollongong Coal propose to mine a third seam of coal (Wongawilli seam) beneath two previously mined seams.

This plans to yield 3.7 million tonnes of coal over 5 years, with maximum extraction each year of 1 million tonnes.
 

A processing plant would be built on site to process coal.  Coal would then be trucked from Russell Vale along the Northern Distributor to Port Kembla Coal Terminal.  There would be up to 32 truck movements per hour, or one coal truck every 112 seconds on the Northern Distributor.

WCL has explicitly stated that the purpose of this proposal is to pave the way for a much larger expansion of mining around Cataract Reservoir and to its west. 

WCL’s consultants stated in 2019 “LOM [Life of Mine] of at least 5 years to provide sufficient time for necessary studies and approval process for mining in Wonga Central and Wonga/Bulli West areas.”*

This planned expansion could be much more destructive & must be stopped.

*RUSSELL VALE UEP, Revised Mine Plan: Presentation to CCC 06 June 2017, p. 7

Existing and Proposed Underground Workings at Russell Vale, Figure 5.2, page 60
RUSSELL VALE REVISED UNDERGROUND EXPANSION PROJECT 
REVISED PREFERRED PROJECT REPORT AND RESPONSE TO SECOND PAC REVIEW FINAL 

Prepared by Umwelt (Australia) Pty Limited on behalf of Wollongong Coal Limited. Accessed at:  https://majorprojects.accelo.com/public/94940b4c06478b0d010a6a30d1c28522/PPR%20and%20PAC%20Second%20Review%20Response%20Reduced%20file%20size.pd

Wollongong Coal propose to mine a third seam of coal (Wongawilli seam) beneath two previously mined seams. Multi seam mining has scant precedent and the outcomes are difficult to predict.

Instability in the overlaying old Bulli seam workings may cause pillar collapse and subsequent surface subsidence of 1 to 2 metres.

The land around the proposed mining is unstable. The proposal states, “It is noted that large areas of the surface within the UEP Application Area are currently on the verge of moving as a result of previous mining.” It is described as being in “limiting equilibrium” – still moving, having not stabilised since WCL mined longwalls 4, 5 and 6 several years ago. 

Source: Russell Vale Revised Underground Expansion Project 3687_R05 RtPAC Second Review FINAL Revised Preferred Project Environmental Assessment, p. 63
Accessed 18.8.19 at: https://majorprojects.accelo.com/public/7f32dda24beaa9a6c18ea7d52be9c53d/RtPAC%20Second%20Review%20FINAL.pdf