The New South Wales Government yesterday announced amended special conditions for BHP Billiton’s Caroona Coal Project to ensure the prime agricultural land is protected from longwall and open cut mining.
After the company reviewed its exploration and development plans, the Government amended the conditions to protect the floodplain and deep alluvial irrigation aquifers in the surrounding Liverpool Plains area.
These amendments will prevent BHP from applying for a mining lease that includes longwall mining underneath the aquifers and the floodplain or open cut mining on the floodplain.
According to the company’s president of energy coal Jimmy Wilson, “BHP and the NSW Government are committed to protecting of key agricultural land and the region’s water supply.”
“The company has made this public commitment previously and now it is written in stone.
“This strikes a balance between protecting the valuable agricultural land and the potential of thousands of jobs that mining could bring to the region.”
BHP also announced it would provide a share of the funding for the Government’s Independent Water Study and incorporate the findings as part of any future environmental assessments.
“We know we will be judged by what we do, not by what we say and we are committed to fulfilling our obligations to protect the environment,” Wilson said.