Bickham coal mine

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The Bickham coal mine is a proposed black coal mine in the Upper Hunter valley in New South Wales. The Bickham Coal Company sought New South Wales government approval for mining 36 million tonnes of low-ash thermal coal after extracting a 25,000 tonne bulk sample.[1]

In mid-May 2010 the Premier of New South Wales, Kristina Keneally and Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, announced that the mine would not proceed and that the government would amend the Mining State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) "to prohibit open-cut mining on the Bickham site permanently."[2]

Despite this rebuff on an open-cut mine, the company persisted. In March 2012 the company stated that it had instituted a new exploration program aimed at developing a proposal for an underground mine. "We implore the NSW Government and the community to ensure we receive a fair and transparent hearing if underground mining was deemed possible," the company wrote in a letter to the Upper Hunter Shire Council. The company's exploration licence expires on May 27, 2012.[3]

Groups opposing the proposed mine called on the government to ensure that the exploration licences are not renewed and amend the prohibition on open cut mining to also ban underground mining. Bickham Coal-mine Action Group Chairman Peter Haydon says the previous licences were issued by former Labor Minister Ian MacDonald. "It should be now closely scrutinised along with all the other licences he issued which the Government is planning to re-examine to see if due process was followed," he said.[4] (Macdonald is currently being investigated by Independent Commission Against Corruption over the allocation of "certain coalmining tenements in NSW" including "among others, allegations relating to the Doyle's Creek exploration licence".[5])

Citizens groups working on Bickham

Articles and resources


  1. Bickham Coal Company, "Proposal Outline", Bickham Coal Company website, accessed May 2010.
  2. NSW Government protects multi-billion dollar NSW thoroughbred industry - stops coal mine in the Upper Hunter", Media Release, May 14, 2010.
  3. Caitlin Andrews, "Bickham confident in exploration actions", Scone Advocate, March 1, 2012.
  4. David Marchese, "Bickham licence up for renewal", ABC News, May 28, 2012.
  5. Independent Commission Against Corruption, "Operation Jarilo investigation report on hold pending further investigation", Media Release, May 23, 2012.

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