BHP Billiton has announced it will restrict coal exploration in the farming region at Caroona, near Gunnedah.
NSW Minerals Council CEO Dr Nikki Williams said the decision, which was based on two years of geological research and extensive consultation, proved that mining and agriculture can co-exist based on good science and sustainability principles.
Dr Williams said the sensible and cautious approach applied to the Caroona exploration process had enabled miners, the local community and the government to arrive at a decision that protects the valuable Liverpool Plains farming region, while exploration will proceed in other areas of the coal-rich Gunnedah Basin.
“The extensive mapping and monitoring of the Liverpool Plains underground aquifer undertaken by mineral explorers, which will be shared with government and the local community, provides invaluable data to help inform future land use planning well into the future,” Dr Williams said.
“It is a reality of our modern life that mining and agriculture are equally essential, so we must find smart ways using research, technology and sound planning to make the best use of our natural resources.
Dr Williams said the NSW Minerals Council will continue to work with farmers groups and the government on strategies that achieve a sustainable balance between agriculture, mining and other important regional land uses.