For 85 years, Illawarra Metallurgical Coal has produced high-quality metallurgical coal used for steelmaking, which is shipped around Australia and around the world.

The Dendrobium Mine in the Illawarra region of New South Wales is an existing underground mine, primarily producing metallurgical coal for steelmaking.

We are seeking approval for the continuation of mining activities in Dendrobium’s next two underground mining areas, within the existing Dendrobium mining lease.

The Project would maintain the current approved annual production rate of 5.2 million tonnes per annum run-of-mine while supporting the ongoing employment of 500 people, continued opportunities for reliant Illawarra businesses, and the sustained supply of high-quality metallurgical coal for steelmaking to local and international customers.



history in the illawarra


employees and contractors


employees living locally


spent locally in fy19

The Benefits

Dendrobium began operating in 2002 as an underground longwall mine and remains an essential supplier to Australian steelmakers, including BlueScope Port Kembla Steelworks and Liberty Primary Steel Whyalla Steelworks.

If approved, the Project would continue to deliver strong economic benefits for the local community, sustaining the positive contribution Illawarra Metallurgical Coal has made for 85 years.

The Project would support the continued employment of 500 people working at Dendrobium mine, create an additional 200 jobs during the construction phase, contribute A$714 million in rates, royalties and taxes, and deliver a net economic benefit of A$2.8 billion to NSW. 



ongoing full-time jobs


jobs during construction




local net economic benefit


A Development Application supported by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was submitted to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in 2019.

The EIS was developed through extensive consultation with our stakeholders and examined the environmental characteristics of the Project including ground and surface water, air quality and emissions, noise, traffic, heritage and biodiversity.

We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and understand the sensitivities of working within the Metropolitan Special Area. The proposed mine design has been developed to avoid sensitive surface features and continues our commitment not to longwall mine under dams, named watercourses and key stream features.



Water Monitoring Devices in catchment areas


Water Samples Collected since 2005


coal left unmined to protect surface features


mining experience in local catchment areas

Metallurgical Coal

Metallurgical coal is an essential raw material used in the steelmaking process, and for 85 years Illawarra Metallurgical Coal (IMC) has supplied this critical ingredient to its customers.

Coal mining and steelmaking in the Illawarra are strongly linked. One of the primary reasons a steelworks was established at Port Kembla over 90 years ago, was the ready access to rich seams of metallurgical coal and a deep-water port.

The BlueScope Steelworks at Port Kembla is the largest steel production facility in Australia, and one of only two primary iron and steelmaking facilities in Australia. It consumes approximately 3 million tonnes of coal each year, of which 90 per cent is sourced locally.



steelmaking established at port kembla


annual steel production at Port Kembla Steelworks


kilograms of coal used for every tonne of steel


kilograms of steel contained in the average car


We have committed to fund works that would result in the Project being a positive contributor to the metropolitan water supply, to offset the volume of surface water that would be impacted by Project subsidence.

The funds would be paid to the New South Wales government to invest in water infrastructure that has intergenerational benefits.


Next steps

In February 2020 we lodged the Response to Submissions report, providing a comprehensive response to feedback on the Project’s Environmental Impact Statement.

A total of 775 submissions were received from government agencies, organisations and members of the public. The majority of public submissions were positive, with 81 per cent made in support of the Project.

In October 2020, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment completed its 'whole of government' assessment of the Project and referred the Project to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) for determination. In their assessment, the Department concluded that "... [the Project] is in the public interest and is approvable, subject to the recommended conditions."

In February 2021, the IPC completed its assessment of the Dendrobium Project following a rigorous environmental assessment process. For more information on the IPC determination, visit the IPC's project page

Dendrobium Mine Extension Project, NSW Planning Process

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Important web links

NSW Government Major Projects Planning Portal 

Visit Major Projects Portal to view and download the EIS or make a submission. NOTE: All online submissions must be made through the NSW Government's Major Project Planning Portal

Independent Expert Panel for Mining in the Catchment 

The Independent Expert Panel has been established to provide informed expert advice on the impact of mining activities on the Greater Sydney Water Catchment Special Areas

NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

The Department has an important role in assessing and determining proposals for major development in NSW to ensure the need for new jobs is balanced with the needs of the community and environment.

NSW Independent Planning Commission

The Commission operates independently of other government departments, including the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, and has an important role to play in building community confidence in the decision-making processes for major development and land-use planning state-wide.

South32 Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Documents (e.g. DCCC Minutes)

View and download Illawarra Metallurgical Coal's environmental approvals, conditions of consent, community consultative committee meeting minutes and more. 

For project enquiries, please email [email protected]