News National Joyce seeks anti-mine ally

Joyce seeks anti-mine ally

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The NSW premier can expect a call from federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, who wants him to stop the controversial $1 billion Shenhua coal mine.

Mr Joyce is side-stepping federal colleagues over his government’s decision to approve the mine, near prime agricultural land in his NSW electorate.

The minister believes the final approval is in the remit of the state government and is contacting Premier Mike Baird to stop the project he’s labelled “ridiculous”.

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“I’ll been contacting the premier today, I have made sure … I do everything in my power to stop the mine,” he told reporters in Mackay on Thursday.

“It’s an absurd place for a mine.”

It is understood the NSW government has no intention of halting the mine.

A mining licence, which Chinese state-owned Shenhua needs, cannot be refused if a project has already received development approval.

Mr Joyce is at odds with the prime minister over the issue, with Tony Abbott arguing it was possible for agriculture and mining to coexist on the land.

The agriculture minister’s faced calls for his resignation over the issue, and a possible contender for his seat of New England in its previous incumbent, former independent MP Tony Windsor.

Meanwhile, farmers are looking at appealing the decision through the courts.

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