‘‘I've got 1,000 hectares of land that’s irrigated from underneath,’’ says Andrew Pursehouse, whose farm lies outside the zone but under ridges that Shenhua plans to excavate. ‘‘If something happens to that water resource, my land is going to be worth only a third of what it is now.’’
Layton, the Shenhua spokeswoman, says the company may buy more farms in the years ahead if they are affected by dust and noise. The company plans to mine the ridges and leave the soil untouched and plant trees for those it destroys.
Smyth misses the Liverpool Plains, but he doesn’t believe that farming and mining can coexist.
‘‘I think that’s just a pie in the sky pretty picture that they paint,’’ he says. ‘‘I think it should be left alone. I feel guilty in lots of ways because I was one of the ones that weakened and got out of there.’’
EDITOR'S NOTE _ This story is part of ‘‘China’s Reach,’’ a project tracking China’s influence on its trading partners over three decades and exploring how that is changing business, politics and daily life. Keep up with AP’s reporting on China’s Reach, and join the conversation about it, using #APChinaReach on Twitter.