Did you know that on the edges of the Blue Mountains, there are four mines? Two active and two closed – and they’re polluting the rivers and streams of the UNESCO World Heritage Area.


Dr Ian Wright, a water researcher and lecturer at Western Sydney University, alongside his team of researchers, has been investigating the effects of these mines on the water systems in the Blue Mountains for over ten years. 

And now Dr Wright’s research is being projected onto the big screen with the help of documentary filmmaker, James O’Connor, in Mining the Blue Mountains. The documentary follows the pair as they trek through the Grose Valley to capture footage of these rivers and mines. 



One of the main focuses of the documentary is the Wollangambe River and its tributaries. They’ve been badly affected by Clarence Colliery, a mine still in operation that has been disposing of its waste in the river – one of the most protected and regulated in the world – for 40 years. 

The closed mines – Canyon Colliery and Sunny Corner – are still polluting waterways, and the mess made from these mines hasn’t been cleaned up. 

But it’s not all bad news. In 2014/15, the Blue Mountains community came together and successfully campaigned for the EPA and coal industry to clean up the waste that Clarence Colliery was disposing into the river. Wollangambe River is now recovering and biodiversity is returning to the river. 

For the full story of the mining situation in the Blue Mountains watch the doco now and find out what’s going on in your own backyard. 


How You Can Get Involved

A website has been set up that lets you easily submit a letter to the NSW Environment Minister (currently James Griffin). Head over to the site to add your name to the growing list of people keen to see mining more tightly regulated in the Blue Mountains.

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