Brief History of the Bickham Coal Mine Proposal

In February 2001, Bickham Coal (BC) presented a plan to the then Murrurundi Council to take out a 25,000 tonne bulk sample of coal next to the Pages River, South of Blandford, as the first stage of a 25 million tonne open cut coal mine.

28 October, 2001, the first community Water Workshop was held in Murrurundi. Here we learned that the mining company was planning a 'small' mine. IT HAS SINCE DOUBLED IN SIZE.

Their bulk sample proposal was so poorly presented, the then Minister for Mining, Eddie Obeid MLC requested BC to re evaluate the proposal. (Nov 2002)

BC re - wrote their Review of Environmental Factors (REF) October 2002.

Amendments were made November 2002.

Community opposition included 333 written objections, points made:

  • The wrong mine in the wrong place.
  • The mine site straddles the Pages River, an unregulated stream, at the very head of the Hunter Catchment.
  • The river is already over allocated and officially described as ‘stressed.’
  • Geologically the river seam could be fractured by a mine and the river ‘captured.’
  • The risk of polluting the stream is high and less manageable because it isn’t regulated.
  • It will cut across the spent Burning Mountain Coal Seam.

January 2004, BC was granted approval to remove the sample. It was removed, exported, tested and the hole has not been re filled.

At the same time the State Government decided to conduct a full review of Coal Mining in the Upper Catchment and report in 6 months.

In December 2005, (22 months later) after many drafts, the report Coal Mining Potential in the Upper Hunter Valley – Strategic Assessment was finally released.

  1. Bickham Mine site has been officially acknowledged by government as a potential area for open cut mining.
  2. Underground mining has been ruled OUT.
  3. Pages River to be protected from ANY impact.

BC believe they can convince the government their water plan will protect the river.


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