Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 November 2020
Chapter 3 is focusses on a new ‘greenfield’ coal mine in Australia proposed by the world’s largest mining company, the China-based Shenhua corporation. The new coal mine is to be situated on highly productive agricultural land in the Liverpool Plains in NSW. Local opposition is grounded in the landowning classes and Indigenous people who are the Traditional Owners of the land. The developmental myths of both agricultural reliance and sovereign nationhood are challenged by the mine’s approval, disrupting established political alliances. The resulting conflicts are played out in the regulatory process, undermining existing structures and forcing new frameworks into place, from local to national contexts. The case dramatically exposes what is at stake when coal extraction is reconfigured in various ways as a threat to established livelihoods and Indigenous rights, as well as a threat to local environments and to climate stability. Again, we find the deep contradictions of coal extraction brought to the surface, creating new territories of contestation and potential for transformation.