Aussie state buying back mining license from China Shenhua
Move aims to reserve fertile land for farming amid pivot from coal
KAORI TAKAHASHI, Nikkei staff writer
SYDNEY -- The Australian state of New South Wales has agreed to repurchase the majority of a coal exploration license from China Shenhua Energy, part of a shift to agricultural investment to meet growing Asian demand.
The government will spend 262 million Australian dollars ($202 million) to acquire 51.4% of a license to mine in the southeastern state's fertile Liverpool Plains. State-owned Shenhua, which bought the license in 2008 for A$300 million, says it will pursue development on a smaller scale.
The move comes amid security concerns as well as an outcry from environmental groups worried about the impact of mining on the area's water supplies.
New South Wales spent A$220 million last August to buy back a coal exploration license from local resource giant BHP Billiton, which acquired the rights in 2006 for A$100 million.