The Hunter Valley isn’t deep enough

Let’s dig until it’s deeper! I saw a documentary on the ABC a few weeks ago about how residents of the Hunter Valley were concerned about how dust from nearby coal mines might be affecting their health. There were a few aerial shots which showed just how much of the Hunter Valley is currently being dug up. Here, I took some screenshots from Google Maps to illustrate the same thing:

This shot shows all the mines in the Hunter

It’s a bit hard to get a sense of scale from this shot though; those mines are really, really freaking huge. See that medium-sized one on the upper left? Here’s a zoomed in shot which gives you a sense of scale. Look at the size of the buildings, or the trees compared to this upper section of the mine. Click the image for full-size.

The upper third of that mine. Click to enlarge.

The majority of Australia’s coal is found in NSW. The Australian Coal Industry estimates that Australia has another 180 years worth of identified reserves at today’s rate of consumption. Quite apart from what will be done with all the carbon dioxide produced by burning that coal, what’s our landscape going to look like in another 100 years?

Bloody hell. And some 85% of our power is produced by burning this stuff. I’ve gotta say, electricity windfarms are pretty ugly but … so are massive open cut coal mines.

Okay, I’ll take my hippie hat off now.