Peter’s Successfully Farming HVO Rehabilitated Mining Land

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Peter Nichols reckons you can farm land after mining and produce the yields you got from the land before it was mined. He should know. Peter has been farming Hunter Valley Operations’ (HVO) land for more than 20 years. His company is licenced to farm 863 ha of HVO land.

He and HVO conducted trials, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, running beef cattle on rehabilitated HVO mining land and on neighbouring non mined land. 

“The rehabilitated block out yielded the non-mined block in terms of kilograms per head of cattle,” Peter said.

Peter has a long connection with the area. His great grandparents had a nearby farm on land now owned by HVO that is licenced to Peter’s company to farm. 

Peter and his family had always aspired to farm cattle. He started his farming business from scratch using 200 ha of HVO land. Another arm of Peter’s family business provides pump and general duties services in the pit for HVO.

“We are lucky to be involved here at HVO. HVO has helped us quite a bit. They are good people to work with. This has been an excellent business relationship.”

He said the good results come from him treating the land like his own and forming a special relationship with the land.

“If you respect the land, it will respect you.”

He said he has always had good support from HVO.

“They [HVO] have a good relationship with the community and farmers. They do a lot of good things in the community.”

“If I have got a problem, all I have to do is call. The mine manager and his team listen.”

He agrees that his business is a perfect example of how mining and agriculture can not only co-exist but work together to mutually benefit one another.

HVO’s Manager Community and Environment Andrew Speechly said Peter’s company is one of seven licensees farming HVO land. HVO has around 6,000ha of buffer and rehabilitated lands which is used for dairy, cattle grazing or pasture.

“There are around 2,000 head of dairy and beef cattle on HVO land at the moment,” Andrew said.

“We continue to rehabilitate land no longer needed for mining for agricultural use. The agricultural impact assessment on our proposal to continue mining predicts no significant impacts on surrounding private agricultural land. Our proposed conceptual final landform will return more land for agriculture.”

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