2 March, 2017
Courtesy of the Australian
Mining giant Anglo American has left open the possibility it will resubmit a proposal for the Drayton South coalmine bordering two of the country’s most prestigious horse studs in NSW in a scathing statement days after those plans were rejected.
The proposal has now been rejected four times in six years, and the state government has flagged it will amend rules to prevent unsuccessful applications resubmitting plans if they have been rejected several times already.
But the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association, which represents Coolmore, Godolphin and other studs, is calling for an immediate prohibition on mining in the Drayton South site, writing last week to Premier Gladys Berejiklian demanding urgent action to end uncertainty.
“We urge that on this occasion, following another emphatic refusal of the project (by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission), that the Berejiklian government acts immediately to prevent any further applications on this site,” association president Cameron Collins said.
But Anglo American Coal’s chief executive, Seamus French, said he was “extremely disappointed” in having the proposal knocked back, a decision which “is nothing less than devastating for the local community and our long-serving local suppliers who have looked to this project for ongoing employment opportunities and $70 million worth of business every year”.
“The direct loss to the Hunter Valley region is significant and well in excess of that generated by the neighbouring horse studs,” Mr French said.
“There is no scientific or economic logic as to why co-existence between the industries could not have continued as has been the case for many years since the neighbouring studs moved into the valley and invested in properties adjoining the Drayton mine.
“The NSW planning process is broken and needs urgent rectification.’’
Coolmore Australia principal Tom Magnier last week described the uncertainty of the planning system as “stressful and difficult, not just for us but for the whole of the community”.
Studs in the area have been responsible for breeding many racing champions, most recently Winx, who last weekend went one better than Phar Lap’s tally of 14 consecutive race wins.
Mr French said Anglo American was considering its future options for Drayton South and the nearby Drayton mine, which is currently not operating.