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Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 12:26 UK

Australia's coal mines blamed over asthma

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Australia's coal-mining industry is at full throttle again after the global economic downturn, with surging demand from countries like China and India.

For those who live close to the pits the push to expand production is not good news. Many are concerned about the impact on their health.

In May, the government of New South Wales released a report on child health showing that nearly 40% of nine to 15-year olds in the Hunter Valley and New England region had suffered at some stage from asthma. That is 12% above the state average.

Although the study did not make a direct link between the findings of the study and the mines, local people are convinced they are to blame.

Nick Bryant reports from Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales.

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