Urgent call for submissions on sand mining threat to Minnamurra River

Kiama councillors, the Minnamurra Progress Association and Friends of the Minnamurra River are urgently encouraging people to make submissions to the Department of Planning and Environment about Boral’s proposal to establish two additional sand extraction pits on privately owned land at Dunmore House. An extension to the time available for submissions is being challenged by Boral, so to avoid any uncertainty submissions now need to be lodged by the original time frame of midnight, 23 May.

If more than 25 submissions are lodged, it will trigger the proposal going to the Independent Planning Commission for detailed assessment.

The first pit of 324,000 tonnes is proposed on the eastern side of Dunmore House, abutting Riverside Drive and opposite Minnamurra Recycling Depot. The second larger site is to the south east of Dunmore House, on the flood plain of the Minnamurra River. This second site is to be a 27 metres deep pit, left as a water body once 1,123,000 tonnes are mined.
While the sites in question are not in the Kiama Municipality, their position adjacent to the ecologically sensitive Minnamurra River is cause for great concern. As just one example, it is proposed to completely remove 4.53 hectares of ecologically endangered Bangalay sand forest, with resulting impact on fauna sheltering there.

In his submission, former Deputy Mayor Richard Maitland concludes, “If approved this will have major ramifications for the biophysical environment along with the built environment.

“The mining of this finite resource in the short term  ( 2-5 years depending upon market demand)  in such an environmentally sensitive area will have major long term impacts whose cost will be borne by the community and the environment in the long term.

“The Precautionary Principle ought to be applied in relation to this application. The risks are great and the environment ought not be compromised and degraded.  The  request ought to be  refused.”

Detailed background and where to lodge a submission is here http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=9166
The motion passed at Council last night may be used to inform submissions, given the short time frame:

(starts) That Council:

1) Advise the Department of Planning of our strong opposition to Modification 2 for the reasons set out in the attached submission, and because:

  • The areas proposed in Modification 2 are physically separated from those considered in the original approval and have a far greater likelihood of causing environmental impact.
  • Areas 5A and 5B are both located in very close proximity to the Minnamurra River, and unlike the existing extraction areas, has the potential to impact on ecologically important ecosystems such as Coastal Wetlands and Bangalay Sand Forest, in addition to impacts on tourism and the scenic amenity that is of very high value to the Kiama Community.
  • Area 5A is located opposite Kiama Municipal Council’s Waste and Recycling Depot and sand extraction in that location will potentially impact upon groundwater hydrology, mobilising contaminated groundwater with resultant impacts on the adjacent Minnamurra River. This potential risk has not been sufficiently evaluated.
  • The proposal appears to be inconsistent with the Objectives in Part 2 Section 6 of the Coastal Management Act 2016 (and the former SEPP 71) which are as follows:

(a)  to protect coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests in their natural state, including their biological diversity and ecosystem integrity,

(b)  to promote the rehabilitation and restoration of degraded coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests,

(c)  to improve the resilience of coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests to the impacts of climate change, including opportunities for migration,

(d)  to support the social and cultural values of coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests,

(e)  to promote the objectives of State policies and programs for wetlands or littoral rainforest management.

  • The potential impact on Flora and Fauna is likely to be significant and has not been evaluated sufficiently. Area 5B is surrounded on three sides by the Minnamurra River and coastal wetland containing mangrove forests and salt marsh.
  • Area 5B is very low-lying and council is concerned that the extraction will impact on natural groundwater and surface water (flood) flows with resultant impacts on the adjoining coastal wetland ecosystems.
  • According to the supporting documentation, 56% of Area 5B is made up of Bangalay Sand Forest vegetation that is classified to be in either moderate or good condition and it is proposed to remove completely 4.53 hectares of this ecologically endangered forest.
  • Council is concerned about noise and dust pollution to the residents of The Village (part of Minnamurra, off Riverside Drive), located within 500 metres of Area 5A.
  • Council is concerned that increased heavy vehicle traffic on Riverside Drive to service area 5A (including proposed backfill at that site) will add a significant traffic risk on the primary northern access road to the suburbs of Minnamurra, Kiama Downs and Gainsborough and has not been adequately addressed.
  • Neither council nor the community has been provided access to Area 5B to allow evaluation of the impacts of the proposed Modification.

2) Request the Department of Planning terminate the current assessment process and consider this a new proposal, as Areas 5A and 5B are distant from the current approved extraction areas and will have a range of different impacts.

3) Request the Department of Planning, either as part of this (or any new) proposal, offer a guided site tour in conjunction with the proponents to Kiama and Shellharbour councillors and staff and interested community group representatives

4) Amend the Submission to the NSW Department of Planning and Industry to add the points raised above and include a copy of the council resolution.

5) Forward a copy of this resolution to Shellharbour Council (and councillors) for their information as soon as practicable.



4 responses to “Urgent call for submissions on sand mining threat to Minnamurra River

  1. I am totally opposed the Borals plan to mine sand in areas 5A and 5B. It’s time the people with the power to implement change start thinking about long term sustainability and our environment instead of bowing to big business. Further intensive studies need to be made into this proposed sabotage and plundering of this sensitive area!


  2. Dig away the sand and another major expensive problem arrives!

    Leave the pristine beaches and river beds alone! Hands off greasy bastards!


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