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Caroona Coal Action Group at SLA Thursday Forum

Thursday, 7 Apr
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

The conflict between multinational coal mining exploration and productive agriculture will be the focus of the next monthly Thursday Forum in the popular series held by Sustainable Living Armidale (SLA).

Armidale is fortunate to have Sandy Blomfield, chairman of the Caroona Coal Action Coalition, speak at the Forum on Thursday 7th April at 7pm at Kent House.

“We’ve followed the protests about coal mining exploration on the fertile Liverpool Plains around Gunnedah with a lot of interest, and now we have a chance to hear directly from the people leading the action,” said Patsy Asch from SLA’s Energy Group.

The Caroona Coal Action Coalition is a group of farmers and residents in the Liverpool Plains who are concerned about the impacts of mining on agriculture. The region’s climate, soils, and unique groundwater make it one of the most fertile and drought-resistant agricultural areas in Australia

In 2006 the NSW government issued a coal exploration licence to BHP Billiton’s shelf company, Coal Mines Australia, covering 344square kms at Caroona. The Government received $100 million for the licence with the promise of another $100 million if the mine is approved.

Similarly, they granted a neighbouring licence at Watermark to the Chinese State owned coal mining company, Shenua for $300 million with the promise of $375 million if the mine goes ahead.

Additional petroleum exploration licences have been issued in the region.

Farmers on the Liverpool Plains called for an independent groundwater study to be commissioned before any further exploration or large scale mining is considered.

While the NSW Government has finally agreed, the community is concerned that the existing NSW legislation for approval and operation of mines is inadequate and will not protect the unique groundwater systems of the Liverpool Plains from the impacts of large-scale mining, nor take into account the effect on the Murray Darling Basin.

Sandy Blomfield will talk about the history of the group, their goals and concerns, how they built support locally and beyond, and what he thinks will occur in the near future,

Ten minutes of the Four Corners program, on Australian coal seam gas mining and some of the impacts on Queensland farmers, also will be shown.

The SLA Thursday Forum is on 7th April at 7pm at Kent House, 141 Faulkner Street (opposite Central Park) followed by light refreshments. All welcome, a gold coin donation appreciated.


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