Both mining and agriculture have coexisted in the Southern Highlands region for almost two centuries. Hume Coal is committed to maintaining and enhancing both the heritage and productivity of its land holdings in the area.
From the 1820’s pioneering agriculturalists like James Atkinson, who developed two grants then known as Oldbury and Mereworth, made their mark on the region.
In one of the earliest links between agriculture and coal, Atkinson’s son, James John Atkinson), established the Berrima Coal Mining and Railway Company in 1880.
The former Atkinson property, Mereworth, is now owned by Hume Coal and is the proposed location for some of the underground mine’s surface facilities, including a new rail spur and loop built on part of the original 1800s rail alignment.
Over the years many of the large land holdings in the highlands have been broken down, divided and sold as smaller hobby farms. This has resulted in a reduction of large-scale cropping and grazing, with smaller herds and lifestyle properties taking their place.
Hume Coal, which has acquired around 1700 hectares in the region, aims to significantly enhance the agricultural productivity of the properties. Of the company’s total landholdings in the Highlands, less than 9% will be used for mining-related activities. The remainder will be run as a commercial agricultural operation which will result in significant income in the agricultural feasibility of the land.