NuCoal reverses decision to drill on blind farmer’s land

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NuCoal Resources has agreed not to explore on a blind farmer’s land following a request from the NSW Government to suspend operations.

Yesterday NuCoal said it would not go ahead with drilling on Hunter Valley farmer Ian Moore’s property, despite winning a court battle over the issue last week.

NSW Minister for resources and energy Chris Hartcher last week wrote to NuCoal asking it suspend activity on Moore’s land because the exploration lease was being investigated by the Independent Commission against Corruption.

The ICAC is investigating the granting of the Doyles Creek exploration licence by former Labor minister Ian Macdonal in 2008.

According to a Clayton Ultz report Macdonald only invited former CFMEU national secretary John Maitland to tender instead of putting the licence up to competitive tender.

NuCoal bought Doyles Creek Mining in February last year and said the ICAC investigation seemed to be interested in a period long before it had an interest in the area.

NuCoal managing director Glen Lewis said while the company would halt exploration on Moore’s land it would continue operations in other regions.

"We are pleased that we have been able to agree a sensible resolution that allows NuCoal to maintain its overall progress with the project in accordance with our schedule," he said.

NuCoal has identified 504 million tonnes of coal in the region and is looking to develop an underground longwall mine.

The area is home to rich agricultural land and the project is opposed by some environmental groups and local farmers.

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