Rio Tinto has transferred more than 2000ha of land in NSW’s Lower Hunter region to the state government for permanent conservation.
The land includes areas at Stockrington and Black Hill near Newcastle, as well as the whole area known as Tank Paddock near Minmi.
It comes as part of Rio’s commitment to provide approximately 75 per cent of its landholdings in the area for environmental outcomes as part of development approvals at both Minmi and Black Hill.
Rio Tinto Coal Australia managing director Sinead Kaufman said the land will help secure a green corridor between the Watagan Ranges and Port Stephens for conservation.
“We have been working closely with National Parks and Wildlife Services for some time now preparing the land for transfer,” she said.
“It will protect an important array of flora and fauna, including threatened species and endangered ecological communities in the conservation lands.”
It will also provide an opportunity for recreational use.
“The land provides opportunities for future uses including recreational cycle ways and walking tracks with an environmental and historical focus including the proposed Richmond Vale Rail Trail,” Kaufman added.
Brian Purdue, Green Corridor Coalition coordinator welcomed the move and said they had been working towards to land transfer for the last 10 years.
“Having this land set aside for conservation will bring social benefits for this increasingly urbanised region,” he said.