Anglo American boss visits Drayton mine

CEO of Anglo American Mark Cutifani thanked workers at Drayton mine during a visit over the weekend.

His second visit to Australia since taking the chief role in January 2013, Cutifani also warned the mine could close in months if a proposed extension was not approved.

Anglo American’s reduced mine plan, which was brought in after repeated rejections of its wider proposed Drayton South mine, has gained the approval from the Department of Planning and is now awaiting review from the Planning Assessment Commission.

Cutifani said the mine was important to the Hunter Valley region and the company was ready to invest if approval was granted, ABC reported.

"If we can get Drayton South up we'll continue to invest, we'll continue to support the guys," Cutifani said.

"Where we are today, we don't need to take it to the board, we're fully supporting the team and if we can get approval we'll move forward."

Cutifani said the Drayton South extension was now 60 per cent smaller than originally planned, showing that the company was listening to community concerns.

"We do have to make sure that we minimise dust and other impacts, we appreciate those things and that's why we've made so many amendments to the mine plan."

Under the new plan the mine will sit behind the natural landscape, will reduce its operating life from 27 down to 20 years, and cut tonnage from 119 million down to 97 million over the life of the mine.

Earlier this year Anglo says it was forced to cut jobs at its operating Drayton coal mine over continuing uncertainty regarding Drayton South’s future.

The Drayton South expansion is essentially billed as a replacement for the Drayton mine, which is slated to run out of coal in 2017.

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