Unfair Shares: How coal mines bought the Hunter River

Published: July 07, 2014

The expansion of coal mining in the Hunter Valley and the increase in the number, area and depth of surface mines has changed the landscape as well as the economic and social character of the region.

Given the extent of new mining still proposed for the Valley, the impact of land loss and fragmentation will be exacerbated by the coal industry’s domination of the Hunter water market.

Read the full report here.

Summary 

The expansion of coal mining in the Hunter Valley and the increase in the number, area and depth of surface mines has changed the landscape as well as the economic and social character of the region. Given the extent of new mining still proposed for the Valley, the impact of land loss and fragmentation will be exacerbated by the coal industry’s domination of the Hunter water market.

Decades of aquifer interference by open-cut coal mining has led to the loss and increasing salinization of ground and surface water in the region. Since 1981, the area of the Valley cut open by mines has increased from 1,724ha to more than 31,500ha, or over 16 per cent of the upper Hunter Valley floor. The 26 coal mines and mine complexes currently operating in the Hunter comprise 42 open cuts pits and 15 underground works and produce about 142 million tonnes of saleable coal. To run these operations, large volumes of water are needed to wash and prepare the coal and suppress the dust that impacts on the towns and villages of the region.

Read the full report here.

Image: Camberwell coal mine.

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