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Wollongong Coal cops A$30,000 fine for dirty water discharge from Russell Vale mine


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Wollongong Coal cops A$30,000 fine for dirty water discharge from Russell Vale mine

has beenfined A$30,000 for discharging dirty water from the coal mine in NewSouth Wales, Australia, into the Bellambi Gully in December 2015.

Thisfine is one of several regulatory actions the state's Environment ProtectionAuthority, or EPA, has taken in response to recent water-related incidents atthe mine.

PeterBloem, EPA manager for the Illawarra region, said July 15 that the pollution ofthe creek occurred when a faulty water sprinkler used for dust suppression andan unsealed inspection portal in a coal stockpile area allowed coal fines to bedischarged into Bellambi Gully.

Wollongongreceived two fines — one for pollution of waters and the other for inadequatemaintenance of plant and equipment.

"Thispenalty notice is in addition to a clean-up direction that was issued by theEPA to Wollongong Coal immediately following the discharge incident,"Bloem said.

TheEPA has imposed additional water quality and volume monitoring requirements onthe company and also plans to conduct an audit of the water management systemat the Russell Vale mine following several reports of discharges from theoperation into Bellambi Gully.

Theaudit will be included in an overall independent environmental review of themine, and the combined report will be submitted to the New South Walesgovernment by Aug. 29.

WollongongCoal has been trying to gain approval for an expansion of the underground mineto extract a further 4.7 million tonnes of coal from a small area of the mineover a five-year period.

However,the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission knocked back the proposal in March on the basis that theenvironmental impact of the project would outweigh the social and economicbenefits.

RussellVale was placed on care andmaintenance in September 2015 because of the delay in securingapproval to expand the mine and significant financial losses.