Hunter Valley coal mine producing olive oil

Glencore Xstrata have launched an ad campaign aimed at showing how mining and farming are able to coexist in NSW.

The campaign was launched online last week and is also airing on television stations across the state.

It tells the story of Glencore Xstrata’s Bulga Underground mine, near Singleton in the Hunter Valley, which shares land with Atulya Olive Grove.

“So while our miners are producing coal underground, olive grower Andrew Waite is busy producing olives above it,” the campaign states.

“When Glencore Xstrata set up operations in the area, it wanted the land above the mine to be used productively, so our miners worked with Andrew to establish Atulya Olive Grove. He also runs River Flats Estate, his family-owned olive grove down the road and the produce from that grove is sold at his family’s store in Broke.”

Waite says the mine’s operation hasn’t had any major impact on the trees.

 “The quality of the product has been good,” he said

“I try and maintain the same standard on that property as I would on any other property.” 

Ralph Northey, Glencore Xstrata’s environment and community manager at Bulga Coal Complex said it was important to show how industry could work with farmers.

“It has been great having Andrew bring his expertise to Atulya,” said Northey.

“We believe in maintaining a sustainable community with a variety of industries in the area. It’s a good example of mining agriculture working together.”

The ad comes as an anti-mining push from farmers and community activist is creating tension in some parts of the state. Grass roots campaigns to halt coal mining and CSG are on the rise in regional NSW and around the country.

Anti-coal protests in recent times have hit the Southern Highlands, Boggabri, and Victoria as campaigns against mining activity grow in strength.

The Southern Highlands Coal Action Group said landowners being targeted by the company for land access were "distressed" and were recently part of a blockade which restricted property access to Hume Coal for exploration purposes.

SHCAG convenor Peter Martin said communities were concerned the government was not doing enough to protect regional farming communities.

“The O'Farrell government is certainly not helping given their 'go for broke' coal mining and Coal Seam Gas approach to the detriment of communities , our land and our water,” he said.

While anti-mining group Lock the Gate are also gaining support in their efforts to stamp out mining.

Earlier this year the group called for strict federal laws to ban coal and gas mining from water sources, heritage sites and sensitive environmental areas.

"We have accepted coalmining in the past, we have recognised its risks but welcomed its contribution,” the group said in a statement.

"But it's gone too far."

Late last year head of the NSW Minerals Council said the mining industry needs to better communicate with the community in order to maintain its social license to operate.

Stephen Galilee said that with activist activity ramping up on social media, companies need to better communicate with the community over any concerns they may have.

"We have genuine community concern about particular projects and that's always been the case for mining and for other industries, but we also as an industry are increasingly facing deliberate opposition by activists who are opposed to mining, and no amount of best practice on community or environmental activities are going to satisfy them,” he said.

"That is a reminder to us as an industry … that we need to be constantly lifting our game, because we're working in an environment where people are actively working to undermine our relationships with the community and with government."

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