Protecting the Liverpool Plains black soil from mining
A dark cloud over the Liverpool Plains has been lifted.
Today I was delighted to be joined by Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson to officially announce that the Caroona coal mine under the Liverpool Plains will not go ahead, with the government entering into an agreement with BHP Billiton to buy back their exploration licence.
Labor recklessly issued this licence over some of our most productive farming land, and it has taken the hard work of the NSW Nationals to finally clean up Labor's mess.
The mining exploration licence at Caroona covered about 344 square kilometres of the Liverpool Plains famous black soil. This is some of the most productive agricultural land in the country, and was not the right place for mining activities to be conducted. It was simply too much of a risk.
As we have made clear on a number of occasions, your Nationals team is committed to protecting prime agricultural land. We have demonstrated that again today with our buy-back of the Labor-issued Caroona mining exploration licence.
This decision does not deny the fact that mining and agriculture can co-exist – as they do in many parts of our state. But what we are saying is that mining on the black soil of the Liverpool Plains is not an option.
The Liverpool Plains black soil is one of our most precious resources, and that is why we have taken this major step to secure its long-term future.
This is in line with independent advice from the Planning Assessment Commission, which recommended that government prohibit mining on the black soil plains.
In addition to the buy-back of the Caroona licence, I can also confirm that the government is in negotiations with Shenhua to excise part of its mining title. While Shenhua’s proposal does not directly affect the black soil, there are parts of its title that are close to the strategic agricultural land of the Liverpool Plains, and these are the first priority of the government in our negotiations with Shenhua.
It’s been a long and hard road to get to where we are today, but I am proud of the result we have achieved to protect our prime agricultural land. Once again, your Nationals team in government is delivering real and meaningful outcomes for our regions.
Leader of the NSW Nationals
Deputy Premier of NSW
Pictured: Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson and Leader of the NSW Nationals & Deputy Premier of NSW Troy Grant at the announcement.