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A legally blind farmer in the NSW Hunter Valley has agreed to allow mining exploration on his farm after NuCoal Resources took him to court yesterday.
The company said the fight ended up in the Land and Environment Court after farmer Ian Moore repeatedly blocked access to his land.
At a special sitting of the court in Singleton Justice Peter Biscoe ruled in favour of the miner, giving it the rights to drill three exploration holes on Moore’s land.
The Moore family wanted to refuse access to their property until a water study was completed.
Moore’s lawyer Peter Long told SBS Moore had eventually agreed with the judge after his concerns about drilling through groundwater were addressed.
But Long said the family still had reservations about the impact on water and “would have preferred that no mining was on their land”.
NuCoal said it had an excellent environmental record, and had drilled and rehabilitated 40 exploration holes in the past two years without any problem.
The company said it was confident it could work with Moore to get the same result on his property.
According to SBS NuCoal said it had identified 504 million tonnes of coal in the area and was looking to develop an underground longwall mine.
It said exploration drilling could start before Christmas and Justice Biscoe’s ruling had been a “victory for common sense”.
According to the Newcastle Herald the Moore family had blocked NuCoal’s access since 2010.
Their action was supported by environmental campaigners and anti-mining and coal seam gas protestors.
Following the decision Greens MP and mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham launched a burst of bitter tweets criticising the State’s mining regulation and NuCoal.