| New South Wales|
The Shenhua Watermark coal mine is a proposed coal mine in the Liverpool Plains of New South Wales, Australia.
The project is located approximately 25 km south-east of the town of Gunnedah, near the village of Breeza and carried out by state-owned Chinese mining company Shenhua Group. Coal is to be shipped through the port of Newcastle.
The project is controversial because of the location in the Liverpool Plains, a primary agricultural region of Australia. It is named after the nearby Mount Watermark.
Shenhua Watermark coal mine Wikipedia
The project commenced in 2008 with the granting of an exploration licence, at the cost of A$300 million.
The project, valued at A$1 billion, once operational, is expected to extract 10 million tonnes of coal per year and have a 30-year live span. It has been controversial because of its location, the Liverpool Plains, often described as the food bowl of Australia. It will cover 35 square kilometres and consist of three large extraction pits.
The project was conditionally approved by Federal Environmental Minister Greg Hunt but this approval was severely criticised by Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce who is also the local MP for the area. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has pointed out that the mine is not located on fertile soil but rather on hill country.
The mine is expected to destroy almost 800 hectares of an endangered ecological community, mostly box-gum woodland as well as other woods. Local farmers in the region have threatened legal action and civil disobedience against the mine should the project go ahead, calling the mine "agricultural genocide".