The region’s peak business organisation, Business Illawarra has made clear its support for the Dendrobium Mine Extension project application being made by Illawarra Metallurgical Coal, a division of South32, in a submission to the NSW Government.

Business Illawarra stated in its submission that it has supported the project since its inception and throughout its long process of application that included being granted State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) by the NSW Government in December 2021.

“This extension will allow for operations at Dendrobium to continue out to 2041, and is essential for both social and economic reasons, because an ‘on-time’ supply of metallurgical coal is required in the production of steel for the foreseeable future,” said Business Illawarra Executive Director Adam Zarth.

“The Illawarra business community strongly supports our resources and steelmaking sectors as necessary parts of the regional economy. Local coal mines play a critical role in supplying nearby high-grade metallurgical coal to the Port Kembla steelworks; Australia’s primary steel making plant, which is likely to require coal for production for decades to come until ‘green steel’ technology is available in the 2040s.”

“New modelling undertaken by Ernst & Young and included in the application show the importance of the project to the Illawarra economy.”

“In addition to an estimated net benefit to NSW of $649.2 million, the project is projected to increase the welfare for each person in the local area by $5,777 in current value over the life of the project.”

“The highest environmental standards and risk mitigation requirements need to be upheld for this extension to occur however, especially in relation to protecting the water table and persevering Aboriginal Heritage sites.”

“Business Illawarra believes that the significant revisions and additional mitigations, headlined by a 60 percent reduction in size of the new mining area in the current application compared to earlier plans permits the project to coexist within the governments and the community’s environment and heritage objectives,” said Mr Zarth.


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