In July 2000, BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal announced its intention to conduct a feasibility study into establishing a new mine in Mt Kembla, New South Wales. The mine was needed to replace a specific grade of coal currently being supplied from the Company's Elouera Colliery. The Dendrobium Mine Project (incorporating the mine and the associated infrastructure), having undergone a Commission of Enquiry, was given approval by the Department of Planning in November 2001 and by the BHP Billiton Board of Directors immediately thereafter. The Dendrobium Mine became an official entity on December 23, 2001 by a redistribution of Kemira, Mt. Kembla and Elouera Mine holdings. The project and the mine were named for the Dendrobium, a genus of orchid native to the area, the name of the parish in which the mine holdings are located and, for many years, the name given to the area of coal to the north west of the Wongawilli and Nebo workings. The Dendrobium Project has been seen as a benchmark in a number of areas including community consultation. This paper, while referring to a range of areas, will predominantly focus on the planning of the mine, the mining and engineering challenges and successes the mine has achieved to date, and some of the learnings from undertaking to create a new underground coal mine on the Illawarra escarpment.