IN response to Whitehaven’s managing director Tony Haggarty, (‘‘Activists are outsiders’’ Herald 13/3), I would like to make it clear that the local community is very concerned about open cut mining in the Leard State Forest and its surrounds.
The mines in the area will create 18,000 tonnes of dust that will fall out over the surrounding community.
And according to the independent Namoi Catchment Water Study, the open-cut pits will reduce the alluvial groundwater aquifers by five metres, which will severely affect our stock and domestic water supplies, particularly in drought.
Purchases of 34 local properties by the miners are depopulating our community and the clearing of 4000hectares or more of native forest will greatly affect our environment.
The few properties in the district that are selling are devalued or being purchased by the miners at a time of their choosing.
Residents who need to retire, expand or move away have their lives on hold.
Crops have been washed away due to re-directed surface water flows.
None of this is pretty and such impacts were not a factor before coal came to the area.
Phil Laird, Maules Creek Community Council Inc