Where exactly is Bickham Coal Mine being proposed?
Along the New England Highway.
Next to the Pages River.
Downstream of Murrurundi and Blandford.
Just north-east of Burning Mountain Nature Reserve, listed on the Register of the National Estate (this is the only naturally occurring burning coal seam in Australia and one of only three in the world);
Upstream of Cameron's Gorge Nature Reserve.
Upstream of the epicenter of the Upper Hunter Shire's multi billion dollar thoroughbred industry.
Map of Bickham Coal Mine
Wrong mine, wrong place
- The northern section of the Upper Hunter Valley is a coal-mine free zone and should be protected from large scale open cut coal mining developments.
- The Bickham Coal mine site is at the narrow head of the catchment and threatens the viability of the Pages River and the Kingdon Ponds Aquifer.
- Five towns, Murrurundi, Blandford, Gundy, Parkville and Scone are dependent on this catchment for clean water.
- Open cut coal mines cut into aquifers and pollute water.
- Open cut coal mines increase salinity.
- Coal is actually an aquifer. Water passes through coal seams. When the coal is dug up the natural filter system underground is disturbed.
- At coal mines next to the Hunter River, water leaches into open pits (called voids) This water has to be removed. It's usually pumped out and wasted. Often sprayed around coal pits to suppress dust. During times of high flow in rivers, saline and waste water is allowed to be released into flood waters.
- A worse case scenario could see The Pages River 'captured' or diverted into the Bickham mine coal pit - as happened in Yallourn Victoria in 2007.
- All mining companies rely on modeling. But no modeling can guarantee NO damage to a river system.
The owners of Glengarry (an adjoining property downstream to the proposed mine site) commissioned a report examining risks to the river system. Click here to read the report by Webb, McKeown & Associates.
It's not worth the risk
When Bickham Coal Company proposed to extract a bulk sample (2004) they conducted various reports. Bickham Coal's Review of Environmental Factors (REF) can be downloaded here.
Other issues of critical importance
The racehorse breeding industry relies on the Pages River system for clean water. This is a multi billion dollar industry and can sustain the local economy long after mines have extracted their coal.
The socio-economic-environmental impact of coal mining on small communities and rural areas is only just beginning to be recognized.
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