Southern Highland landowners win appeal against Korean coal miners

Southern Highland landowners win appeal against Korean coal miners
Southern Highland landowners win appeal against Korean coal miners

Five families from the NSW Southern Highlands have won their appeal to stop mining company Hume Coal accessing their land for exploration drilling.

The landowners of five rural properties in Sutton Forrest appealed against a November decision by the Land & Environment Court that allowed the Korean-owned firm prospecting rights over their properties.

Chief judge Brian Preston of the Land and Environment Court ruled in favour of the landowners and ordered Hume Coal to pay their legal costs.

The judge accepted the families' argument they had made "significant improvements" to their properties, which included a berry farm, cattle properties and an equestrian farm.

"It was an extraordinary outcome," local broadcster Alan Jones from 2GB said.

Peter Martin, who owns a property in Sutton Forest, said it was a huge relief.

He said it set a precedent for fellow landowners fighting coal companies who want to enter their land.

"It's fundamental to our fight against Hume Coal and POSCO in the Highlands, it really says they can't get onto some key properties, which will make developing a mine plan incredibly difficult," he said.

"But its bigger than that, it means a coal mine will have great difficulty getting up and running in the Southern Highlands.

Hume Coal project director Greig Duncan told the ABC the court decision would have "severe ramifications for mining and exploration in NSW".

"It is now up to the NSW State Government to review the land access laws and regulations, so that the exploration industry can continue to progress opportunities, employment and the economy for the people of NSW," he said.

Alan Jones advised POSCO have now indicated they will not appeal the latest decision.

Hume Coal has spent approximately $50 million acquiring seven properties, including Mereworth near Berrima for $11.1 million and Evandale at Sutton Forest for $12 million.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Mining Sutton Forest

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