Miners take farmers to court in Southern Highlands coal bid

Published: November 29, 2012

Mining company Hume Coal, partly owned by Korean company POSCO, will be in the Land and Environment Court today attempting to use legal force to barge its way onto rich farmland to explore for coal in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

Lock The Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said the case epitomises the severe threat which mining poses to agriculture, heritage values, water resources and rural communities across Australia.

POSCO is seeking to enforce access along a private road so that its drilling rig can explore for coal at Sutton Forest.

The area is part of the drinking water catchment for Sydney which provides water for 4 million people.

Due to its history as part of the original Golden Vale property, the farm being targeted for drilling is protected under a unique covenant which states that the only commercial purpose for which the farm may be used is agriculture.

“Legal action by POSCO companies today against Sutton Forest landholders highlights the broader attack that mining is making on rural communities and our farming heritage,” Mr Hutton said.

“The mining companies have gone too far here, throwing their weight around against good citizens who are merely acting to protect their farms and water resources.

“This type of heavy-handed legal action from multinational mining giants is just completely unacceptable in modern Australia.

“We predict that it will backfire on POSCO, and believe it will serve to galvanise communities to fight even harder to protect iconic drinking water catchments and historic farming heritage.

“It’s time for Barry O’Farrell to step in here. This is a blue ribbon Liberal seat and the farmers of the area deserve his support instead of being left alone to defend themselves against the mining juggernaut’ he said.

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