A huge portfolio of land in northern New South Wales owned by a Chinese company is up for sale.

Key points:

  • More than 16,000 hectares of land owned by Shenhua Watermark Coal is on the market
  • There’s expected to be strong interest from corporates
  • Local farmers hope they can also secure some of the land

More than 16,000 hectares of land bought by Shenhua Watermark Coal is on the market, as the mining giants cuts ties with the region and its failed plan to mine for coal on the fertile Liverpool Plains.

Earlier this year the state government paid the company $100 million to withdraw its lease application for the open cut mine at Breeza near Gunnedah.

The company had acquired land at Breeza, Barraba and Tambar Springs.

The 16,570 hectares will go under the hammer with an estimated total value of more than $120 million.

David Goodfellow, the managing director of the agency looking after the sales, CBRE Agribusiness, said there had already been strong interest in the land.

“It’s been quite strong, obviously people have been talking about this parcel of land for some time and what its future destiny might look like,” Mr Goodfellow said.

Three aggregations for sale

There are three parcels for potential buyers to choose from, with the aggregation at Breeza tipped to have the most expensive price tag.

That particular parcel is around 35,000 acres — made up of multiple properties — and is expected to attract bids in the vicinity of $115 million.

Mr Goodfellow said the smaller aggregations at Barraba and Tambar Springs would attract lower figures.

“It can be sold as one lot if someone is interested in taking the whole lot or CBRE is committed to working through a process to allow people to take parts of the land.”

Will local farmers bid?

With a red hot property market and the well-known agricultural characteristics of the Liverpool Plains, interest is expected from both local farmers and corporate enterprises.

Mr Goodfellow said local farmers would have a chance to discuss the opportunity to purchase land.

“We’re going to run a town hall meeting in Gunnedah to just bring the locals together to explain the what the process is so everyone is familiar with how they can best participate,” he said.

Susan Lyle is a retired Liverpool Plains farmer and the chair of the Caroona Coal Action Group, which fought Shenhua’s proposed mine for more than a decade.

She hoped local farmers would have the opportunity to purchase the land.

“It is a wonderful decision and I think it gives the local farmers now an opportunity to buy back some of this land,” Ms Lyle said.

Posted 

Chinese company Shenhua to sell huge stake in northern New South Wales food bowl
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