HISTORY OF OPPOSITION TO THE RUSSELL VALE MINE
The Illawarra has a long and proud history of environmental campaigning. During the past decade, this has included growing opposition to the Russell Vale coal mine. While the campaign to stop destructive mining at Russell Vale has involved many people and organisations, the most prominent are:
Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining
Formed in 2011, Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining (IRRM) is a community group opposing the expansion of the Russell Vale coal mine. Over the past decade, IRRM has campaigned around local resident’s concerns about coal truck movements, noise, dust and air pollution, pollution of creeks and waterways, and mining beneath the local water catchment area and nearby Cataract Dam.
Protect Our Water Alliance
In early 2019, Protect Our Water Alliance (POWA) was formed in response to the ongoing mining beneath Sydney’s water catchment. Located on unceded Dharawal Country in Wollongong, POWA is affiliated with grassroots groups and environmental organisations across the Illawarra, Southern Highlands, and Greater Sydney regions. POWA has organised on-going campaigns opposing mining at Metropolitan, Dendrobium, and Russell Vale mines. In 2020, POWA coordinated action around the Independent Planning Commission of New South Wales hearings into the Russell Vale mine’s expansion.
Independent Planning Commission
After failing to gain approval for the mine’s expansion in 2015, Wollongong Coal reapplied in 2019. In 2020, the Independent Planning Commission of New South Wales conducted hearings into the mine’s expansion.
In December 2020, with support from the NSW government, the IPC gave approval for the mine’s expansion. Mining is planned to begin in August 2021.
Time for Direct Action
Over many years, we have organised, researched, distributed information, held seminars and public meetings, spoken out, and exposed the practices of Wollongong Coal and their parent company Jindal Steel and Power, we have conducted traditional and social media campaigns, held stalls, leafleted, petitioned, and lobbied local, state, and federal politicians, we have rallied, marched, protested, and made submissions to inquiries, etc. In the face of continued mining expansion, intensifying harm and destruction, it is now time for more direct action targeting the mining operations and the company in order to stop the Russell Vale mine.