BHP admits to minimal impact from Caroona coal mine

BHP Billiton has claimed that the proposed Caroona Coal Mine will not affect farmers, despite admissions the mine will cause subsidence and will impact on an aquifer.

The proposal is in the early stages of the approvals process, with plans released last week to the NSW government.

Farmers from the Liverpool Plains say that the mine will affect the floodplain, as defined in the Mooki River Water Sharing plan, but BHP says that the mine does not according to the guidelines provided by state government.

BHP Billiton NSW Energy Coal Asset president Peter Sharpe said that the Spring Ridge Jurassic rock aquifer is expected to see impacts from the coal mine, but not until 2040.

Sharpe said BHP would work to mitigate the effects with farmers and water modelling at least two years before any impact on the aquifer.

However, farmers remain defiant against the plans, raising concerns that BHP has admitted subsidence will occur.

Sharpe said that subsidence is expected in the region where the longwall panel will be cut.

“The modelling doesn’t indicate there will be any impacts that would be long term,” he said.

“Any impacts to agricultural productivity would be short term and easily managed.

“We would ensure no farmer would realise an impact.”

Landholders on the Liverpool plains have called for a declaration that the area is of national agricultural significance, while BHP claims the coal resource is valuable for the state and local community, and warrants co-existance between lanholders and the miner.

Construction of the Caroona coal mine is scheduled for 2018.

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