The Muswellbrook Shire Council has released a draft policy governing mining land use and how to balance its position in the community.
The policy shows how existing operations have surrounded the town, and attempts to protect land users, the Newcastle Herald reports.
In the coming weeks, councilors will change the draft to balance coal mining’s contribution, acknowledging its primary position, while also ensure the health of residents and the protection of aquifers, agricultural land, and the thoroughbred industry.
The draft supports increased mining at existing sites rather than the development of new operations.
It also highlights instances where it would impede or reject mining, such as farming, urban development, and for eco-tourism.
The draft will go back to the council for development on Monday, 10 October.
It comes as the Hunter Valley is predicted to increase production from 135 million tonnes this year to 163 million tonnes next year, and to 216 million tonnes in 2015.