Australia Chinas Reach Mining Farmland

December 9, 2012 - 8:33 PM
In this Sept. 11, 2012 photo, farmer Tony Clift points past bright yellow canola crops towards the location of a proposed coal mining site near Gunnedah, Australia, 450 kilometers (280 miles) northwest of Sydney. Shenhua Watermark, a subsidiary of state-owned China Shenhua Energy, the world’s biggest coal mining company, spent 167 million Australian dollars (more than $170 million) to buy 43 farms covering 36,300 acres. Gunnedah's former mayor says sellers told him Shenhua paid several times market value. Clift's family has plowed the rich black soil of Australia’s Liverpool Plains for six generations. The thought of selling never crossed his mind - until the Chinese company came to town. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)