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Win for farmers as government buys $220m coal mine permit

The NSW Government will buy back BHP's licence for the Caroona coal mine in NSW, ending a 10-year battle by farmers who were worried the mine would ruin their prime agricultural land and water.
The NSW Government will buy back BHP's licence for the Caroona coal mine in NSW, ending a 10-year battle by farmers who were worried the mine would ruin their prime agricultural land and water. BHP Billiton

THE New South Wales Government will spend $220 million buying back BHP's licence for the Caroona coal mine on prime agricultural land on the Liverpool Plains.

The decision ends a 10-year battle to shut the mine because of the risk it posed to underground water resources and the region's farming sector.

NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant said buying back the licence to develop a 344sq km underground coal mine was the right thing to do for the region's farming future.

"The stress, pressures and justifications for this project to continue on some of our richest agricultural land in the Liverpool Plains just wasn't sustainable," Mr Grant said.

"It's a decision that has calculated what they have already contributed - let's not forget they paid $100 million for this privilege - and the amount we've arrived at is the value of that licence in today's dollars."

Liverpool Plains farmer Tim Duddy told the ABC the project should never have been given the green light.

"It's a project that should never have happened, the licences should never have been issued," Mr Duddy said.

"It has been an absolute cancer that has eaten away at the agricultural investment in the district.

"The community now can get on with pursuing agriculture the way it needs to be pursued." - ARM NEWSDESK

- ARM NEWSDESK

Topics:  agriculture coal mine farming nsw governement


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