The Mayor of the Liverpool Plains Shire Council says seeing Chinese miner Shenhua's rehabilitation practices at one of its overseas operations has reassured him.
The company's proposed Watermark Mine is currently being considered by the Planning Assessment Commission.
Mayor Ian Lobsey says the mine he visited in Inner Mongolia is the biggest in China, and the total area to be mined covers 47 square kilometres.
He says of the 300 ha already mined, 220 ha has been rehabilitated.
"They drove us through all this area where they're now growing mung beans and peas, and in one area they had 60 acres of potatoes, as well as lots of shrubs and trees," he said.
"This is on land that was before unusable, because of the terrain and the poor nature of the soil, and they completely rehabilitated this into quite a productive area."
Ian Lobsey says he was impressed with the operation.
"They didn't hide anything, there was nothing to hide, because we saw the whole area of their mine," Councillor Lobsey said.
"We were all very very surprised at the level of rehabilitation, it wasn't just 'shove a few seeds in here and a thing over there,' it was absolutely, wonderfully, rehabilitated."
The CEO of the Caroona Coal Action Group, Tim Duddy, says the Mayor's observations miss the point.
"It's all very well to have some nice green grass on top of the ground with some trees but our issues are about the water resources," he said.
"No matter what the area looks like on top of the ground, you can't tell whether those resources have been protected or not and this is not about having green grass, this is about one of the most significant agricultural water resources in the country."
He says mining on the Liverpool Plains does not compare with Inner Mongolia.
"I think it shows his complete lack of understanding of the real issues surrounding this project," he said.
"The Council should be protecting the environmental assets of this Shire, both the Gunnedah and the Liverpool Plains Shire, at all costs."