NSW Labor, Gomeroi leaders and farmers are appealing to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to stop the proposed Shenhua Watermark mine.
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley, Shadow Minister for Resources, Adam Searle, and Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe, were at the Breeza Plains on Tuesday to discuss the potential impacts if the mine goes ahead.
The Labor leaders were joined by elder Neville Sampson and farmers Andrew Pursehouse, Sarah Sulman and Caroona Coal Action Group member Susan Lyle on John Hamparsum’s property.
“Everything we’ve seen today confirms to me that this is not the place for a coal mine and my appeal to the premier is finish the job,” Mr Foley said.
“Taking away part of Shenhua’s exploration license is a first step but you have to complete the task.
“Extinguish the entire exploration license because this is not the part of the state conducive to coal mining.”
Mrs Lyle and Mr Hamparsum said they were thankful for Labor’s visit.
“We hope now the Premier will come here herself and see what this is about,” Mr Hamparsum said.
The farmers said the “food bowl” would be at jeopardy if the mine went ahead.
“We’ve talked about the Tamworth shire, the Gunnedah shire – that’s where the future is. It’s all about dining, it’s not about mining,” Mr Pursehouse said.
“I’m pretty excited about agriculture here for the next generation and the generation after and after. This is a long-term game, agriculture, and we’ve got some of the best soils, best climate.
“We will not let this mine happen.”
Elder Uncle Neville said the Gomeroi people were concerned about the impacts on their sacred sites.
“When we see our sites being destroyed, and it’s a sacred site, it’s a heartache to us and it's painful,” he said.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said it was a difficult balancing act between protecting farm land and creating jobs.
"My office set out to put pressure on the government to protect prime agricultural land and remove the exploration licence that Shenhua had over the black soil. It saw 51.4 per cent of the company's exploration licence handed back," Mr Anderson said.
"There is a significant amount of work still to be done on the proposed project and I want to see traditional artefacts protected and looked after.”
Premier Berejiklian was contacted for comment but Fairfax Media was advised to seek comment from NSW Resources Minister Don Harwin.
A Resources Minister spokesperson stressed that Shenhua had not yet submitted an application for a mining lease.
“Any application for a mining lease will be assessed by the NSW Government and its relevant agencies in line with current legislation, policies and procedures,” the spokesperson said.
Shenhua was also contacted but declined to comment.