Wollongong Coal's continued failure to complete works to divert Bellambi Creek and protect it from pollution has cost the cash-strapped company $6000 after the State Government intervened.
The miner, which has also been ordered to complete the works within a year from this week, had a deadline of June 2018 to complete the realignment works, a condition of its approval to mine at Russell Vale.
It was originally given a deadline of October 2012 to do the creek works.
Despite the failed deadlines, Wollongong Coal was allowed to continue mining. It was fined $30,000 over a December 2015 incident where 70 tonnes of coal fines was washed down the creek as far as Bellambi Lagoon.
Gavin Workman from Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining said it was disappointing a Community Consultative Committee was held by Wollongong Coal last Monday but there had been no update on the Bellambi Creek situation or the fine.
Mr Workman said the company's application to expand further underground should not be considered while there are environmental conditions still unmet.
"At this very moment [the company] is trying to obtain an approval for their underground expansion project.," he said. "Who in their right mind would allow this to happen? Wollongong Coal cannot even comply with their current conditions."
A spokeswoman from the Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment said these were "separate matters".
"The department's compliance officers issued a fine to Wollongong Coal on 23 July 2020 for failing to comply with an order which required them to construct the Bellambi Gully Creek diversion by December 2019," she said.
"The company has recently submitted a revised design for the creek diversion and the department has issued a further order requiring the works to be completed by July 2021.
"Wollongong Coal's Russell Vale underground expansion project is a separate matter, and will be assessed on its merits in accordance with applicable NSW Government legislation, policies and guidelines."
It is not clear whether the fine had yet been paid.
Who in their right mind would allow this to happen?Gavin Workman
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