Farmingand mining has historically been an uncomfortable mix. Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott stirred debate recently by claiming farmers should have a right to refuse mining access on their properties. They later watered-down their statements but the issue remains heated.
While farmers toil to make a living growing crops above the ground, untapped riches often lie far below the surface.
It’s when miners want to unearth these resources that conflict arises.
The competing interests of landholders and mining companies have received considerable press in recent months.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott stirred debate when he said farmers should have the right to refuse coal seam gas drillers access to their land.
Coal Seam Gas (CSG) is a newer resource, extracted from coal deposits too deep to be mined, and involves forcing a mix of chemicals, water and sand into the seams to remove the methane. Green revolution proponents claim the frackingprocess in not environmentally friendly. Liquid chemicals used in the process include acids, solvents, biocides and hydrocarbons.
The produced water is a contaminated (not eco-friendly) liquid product which must be carefully disposed of.
Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce has also entered the fray, claimed landholders should be able to refuse mining access if it posed a threat to the health of water aquifers or the viability of prime farming land.
“If it’s going to damage the aquifer, if it’s going to destroy the aquifer, then that’s something not only the landholder should have an interest in but something the nation should have an interest in,” Mr Joyce said.
“If it’s something that’s going to destroy the usage of prime agricultural land then that’s not something not only the landholder should have an interest in but something the nation should have an interest in.”
Minerals on private properties are owned by the Crown and landholders are obliged to give access to their land for exploration and mining, under different state laws enacted over the past 100 years.
Queensland has recently announced draft legislation to restrict mining within 2km of towns.
In NSW, however, leaked draft plans prepared for the State Government outline plans to keep conservation areas, prime farming land, horse breeding and wine-growing regions open to coal seam gas and coalmining.
It outlines a ‘gateway process’ to be applied to test whether mining and petroleum proposals were ‘suitable’.
Both farming and mining have left considerable environmental legacies from land clearing to water and soil contamination. While debate continues over the legal rights of these valuable sectors, environmental activists continue to challenge both industries to embrace the green revolution.
Leading Perth-based environmental cleaning company Envirosafe Solutions has been working with the mining industry to provide non-toxic, eco-friendly industrial liquid cleaners and treatments suitable for mining sites.
These include its Extreme Green range of kitchen and laundry environmental cleaning products (designed for use with hard-water) as well as workshop and site products, including its popular soil wetting agent.
Balancing competing rights between farming and mining involves careful consideration of environmental outcomes. Envirosafe Solutions remains committed to providing eco-friendly liquid products that reduce reliance on toxic chemicals among both sectors. For more information contact 1300 88 90 70 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.