Will Bulga village survive? Or will it become the next Ravensworth, Warkworth or Camberwell village that survives purely as a name on a road sign.
Bulga’s watering hole the Cockfighter Tavern is closed and seeking a new tenant and it like more and more of the properties surrounding the historic village is owned by mining giant Yancoal, who last year, purchased Rio Tinto’s two remaining Hunter Valley coal assets Mount Thorley Warkworth and Hunter Valley Operations.
Rio Tinto’s exit from the Hunter meant Yancoal became the owner of the Tavern and many residents in the Bulga district.
Plus they have recently purchased properties outside the Mount Thorley Warkworth acquisition zones.
Yancoal spokesman said it was important to note, the acquisitions are not connected to any future expansion plans.
“We are simply making good on commitments previously made by Rio Tinto to acquire properties that were not provided voluntary acquisition rights in the final approval of the projects by the Planning and Assessment Commission,” he said.
“The Richard Webb team have managed the acquisitions on our behalf as we continue to focus on the integration of the MTW assets into the broader Yancoal group.”
However, Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association President John Krey said many Bulga residents were concerned by the latest purchases in particular those along Wambo Road.
“These residences make up the centre of our village and the social impacts from their purchase by a mining company will be massive,” he said.
“We are losing a number of dedicated long term residents and while we fully understand why they are selling given the environment we are now forced to endure here as the mines move ever closer, as people leave, the village will inevitably be destroyed.”
Mr Krey said his organisation had repeatedly told governments and their planning authorities this is what would happen if they allowed further mine expansions. “Sadly it happening even faster than we forecast,” he said.
Yancoal added any member of the public can approach the Company or its representatives to discuss their property if so inclined, however, it is important to note potential acquisitions are determined on a case-by-case basis and the operation’s mine plans.