News and Events

PRESS ALERT - Hume Coal's EIS released for Public Exhibition

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Department of Planning and Environment is releasing Hume Coal’s Environmental Impact Statement for public exhibition this Friday, March 31 after a 6 year period of exploration.  The EIS is for a proposed underground coal mine in Sutton Forest in the Southern Highlands. The EIS will crystallise serious local concerns about the project in what has been seen as a brutal battle in and out of the courts by local landowners against Hume Coal. Hume Coal is a 100% owned subsidiary of South Korean steel company POSCO. 

"We’ve been waiting for over 6 years now for Hume to table it’s EIS and we’re ready to go” Peter Martin said. “There are so many fundamental issues with this project which is in a tourism, retirement and agricultural mecca. It’s one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of NSW. The project will negatively affect a large number of landowners, townspeople and businesses.”

“The project would be the first new mine in the Sydney Water Catchment for over 30 years. The destruction of our vital water resources by coal mining has been clearly demonstrated. Coal mining is yesterday’s industry and preserving our water is becoming more vital every year.”

The general public will have 60 days to make submissions. Coal Free Southern Highlands (CFSH) has received special dispensation from Planning Minister Anthony Roberts for a 90 day submission period due to the significant amount of experts’ evidence being mobilised in opposition to the proposal.

CFSH will be holding public meetings in the Southern Highlands (timing to be advised) to explain the project plans in more detail and the issues of concern to the community.


Peter Martin


Coal Free Southern Highlands Inc

0418 800 111


Berrima Bus Lines pulls Hume Coal ads

Monday, November 14, 2016

Congratulations to the local management team at Berrima Bus Lines. They are removing the Hume Coal ads decorating the rear of their ten buses following numerous concerns expressed by Southern Highlands residents.

This is a great local company which has been put in an invidious position through an unfortunate mistake made in Sydney. The local team had no knowledge of the ads until they went up on the buses last week. Senior executives in Sydney made a very rapid decision once they realised the furore the ads had caused. Good on them.

However, once again we see the lack of judgement of the executives at Hume Coal. They seem determined to antagonise the many locals who just don’t want coal mining anywhere near the Southern Highlands. Hume’s divide and conquer tactics are as transparent as they are futile.

Press Release - LEC Appeal Decision

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Media Release 10th May 2016

BREAKING: Court Stops Coal Explorer from Accessing Properties in Southern Highlands; Precedent Set for NSW

The Chief Justice of the NSW Land and Environment Court has this afternoon overturned a previous court decision and found in favour of 5 landholders in the Southern Highlands who have been fighting to prevent a coal company from exploring on their properties.

Peter Martin from Coal Free Southern Highlands said “This is an incredibly significant decision for landholders right across NSW whose land sits above a coal deposit.  It means that we have the right to reject coal exploration which will damage significant improvements on our land.

“We have been fighting for six years to prevent our highly developed farms and the vital water resources that lie beneath them from being destroyed by coal exploration and mining.

“It’s not just landholders who won today. The wider economy of the Southern Highlands has very close links between intensive agriculture, tourism, events, accommodation, hospitality and retail. Hundreds of jobs are at risk if this coal mine is allowed to threaten important water resources and the clean, green image of our shire.

“This decision today is a body blow to the South Korean-owned company, Hume Coal, which no longer has the right to enter our lands if they are going to impinge on significant improvements on our properties.

“We believe this will be the death knell for their ill-considered mining project, which is completely inappropriate in a key part of Sydney’s drinking water catchment and one of the most historic and picturesque parts of NSW.

“This decision finally restores a semblance of balance to a planning system which gives big miners special treatment and which bullies and intimidates landholders into giving access.

“We’d like to thank our Senior Counsel, Mr Brett Walker, and our full legal team for their extraordinary hard work and commitment to deliver this outcome” he said.

Phil Laird from Lock the Gate Alliance said “The decision today by Justice Preston sets a vital and long-awaited precedent for landholders across NSW. 

“Coal miners no longer have a god given right to unrestricted access to your property – there are some legal constraints and you can prevent miners from impacting on significant improvements on your property” he said.


CONTACTS: Peter Martin, President Coal Free Southern Highlands Inc, 0418 800 111

Virginia Ellsmore, Knitting Nannas Against Coal 0428 254 966

Phil Laird, Lock the Gate Alliance, 0428 712622

Background Facts

  • Hume Coal is proposing to use an experimental underground mining plan called ‘Pine Feather’ if approval is given.
  • The company’s own documents concede it will drawdown water from the pristine aquifer system underlying the area by up to 90 metres and affect an area of over 300 square kms, draining landowners’ bores in the process. Hundreds of landowners and many businesses in the area will be affected.
  • The company plans to pump toxic mining rejects in a slurry back into the mined out voids, right under the aquifer itself. This risks polluting the groundwater for generations to come and creates a potential health hazard.
  • A massive coal stockpile will be within 4kms of the historic township of Berrima, creating health risks for residents from dangerous coal dust.
  • Hume Coal has been running an aggressive legal campaign for over four years, attempting to force landowners in Sutton Forest to allow them to drill on some of the most highly developed properties in NSW.


Coal Free Community Declaration Day

Monday, February 08, 2016
Welcome to our new website & news blog! We had a great time on Saturday morning at the very first Coal Free Community Declaration Day organised by Battle for Berrima. Mayor Larry Whipper was presented with declarations from the community in Berrima & Medway – the survey results showed that an overwhelming majority agree that their streets should remain coal free. Congratulations to the wonderful Battle for Berrima team who put a lot of hard work & effort in to get the survey completed – and of course for organising such a great event.

And it was absolutely fantastic to see the Southern Highlands very own Knitting Nannas who were also present at their very first public outing – we hope to see a lot more of them!

Please let all your family & friends know that our website is up, and don’t forget to also follow us on Facebook & Twitter

Photo credit – Peter Campbell of Peter Campbell Design