NSW government to pay Shenhua mining company $100m to exit coal mine The Guardian Update 4.51am BST, April 20, 2021
The NSW government will pay Chinese-owned mining giant Shenhua $100m to withdraw from its Watermark coal mine project on the fertile Liverpool Plains in the state’s north-west slopes, AAP reports.
The government in mid-2017 announced it would buy back more than half of Shenhua’s licence for more than $262m to protect farming land.
It agreed on Wednesday to buy back the remainder of the licence, which had been initially approved in 2008.
Shenhua will withdraw its mining lease application and surrender its development consent for the site, and the NSW government will cancel the exploration licence for the site.
Deputy premier John Barilaro said the NSW government needed to “find a balance” between key regional industries such as mining, agriculture and horse breeding.
The government argued the Liverpool Plains region contained “prime agricultural land” which could not be blighted.
Barilaro said in a statement:
This decision will deliver certainty to farmers and the Liverpool Plains community, while guaranteeing protection to parcels of land with high value biodiversity.
The Nature Conservation Council said it welcomed the cancellation of the exploration licence and argued it was the best outcome for nature, local farmers and the climate.
Council chief executive Chris Gambian said in a statement:
This will mark the end of a 12-year campaign by locals and conservation groups to protect rare woodlands and threatened species, including a colony of 250 koalas and endangered swift parrots and regent honeyeaters.
It is regrettable that local communities had to endure more than a decade of stress and anxiety for a project that should never have been approved.
If it had gone ahead, this mine would have been devastating for threatened woodlands and wildlife and resulted in millions of tonnes of coal being dug up and burned for the next 30 years.
Refer also to:
Lorne Fitch: “Open Letter to Investors in Coal: Psst! Wanna buy a coal mine?” Alberta’s Reclamation in the Eastern Slopes: Lipstick on a Decapitated Corpse. biff: “What better name for a minister in charge of rape, pillage and plunder of our natural and needed lands: savage.”