Anglo American calls on NSW Premier to overturn PAC Drayton South rejection

Anglo American wants the Premier of NSW to save 500 jobs and overturn PAC’s rejection of Drayton South mine.

Earlier this week the Planning and Assessment Commission rejected the mine in order to protect the nearby Coolmore and Darley thoroughbred studs.

The Drayton South expansion was to be a replacement for Drayton mine which is set to run out of coal in 2017.

The 500-person strong workforce now face an uncertain future, and Anlgo have previously said the security of the jobs relied on the extension being approved.

CEO of Anglo’s coal business Seamus French wants the premier to step in.

“Anglo American does not believe the PAC took Drayton South seriously,” French said.

Both Coolmore and Darley horse studs threatened to leave the area if the mine went ahead and PAC found the economic benefits of the mine “do not outweigh the risk of losing Coolmore and Darley and the potential demise of the equine industry in the area with flow‐on impacts on the viticultural tourism industries”.

But French said this judgement flew in the face of advice from government experts.

“The feeling among the Drayton mine workforce at site is that the Government has caved into threats from the horse studs, who as the Government’s own experts said, would not move anyway if Drayton South was to proceed,” he said.

“All expert advice, including the Government’s own Department of Planning and Environment report recommending the retracted mine plan be approved in the public interest, was ignored throughout the eight-week assessment.”

Anglo said it spent 5 years and $60 million on environmental modelling and technical reports that showed it could coexist with horsebreeders.

It said PAC’s decision will result in a $35 million loss in royalties to the state, while the local community is set to miss out on a $70 million a year spend by the mine.

 “All this, teamed with the direct income for employees, their personal taxes and flow on benefits to local businesses has been brushed aside by the PAC against untested financial allegations from the horse studs and no scientific evidence to support their claims of noise and dust,” French said.

He warned that unless the decision is overturned, the local community will suffer, and people will be forced to leave in order to secure work.

“It is up to the Government to make this wrong decision right. The Government has the ability to save these 500 jobs and protect these 500 families. The company can do no more, Drayton is running out of coal and we have physically run out of options to secure continuity of employment,” French said.

 “This is not just about Drayton mine, this is about the PAC choosing one industry over another. If Drayton South does not go ahead there is no other employer positioned to fill this void and the impact on the local towns, local schools and long-battling local businesses will suffer as our people have no choice but to move away to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

“We have safely and responsibly operated for more than 30 years and as all the reports and evidence we have presented demonstrates – we would continue to do this at the replacement operation.

 “We call on the Government to not turn their backs on our employees, to not disregard our people’s long term contribution in the Hunter Valley and to overrule the PAC decision and secure their employment.”

The comments come after Anglo senior management met with its Drayton workers to discuss the PAC report and its repercussions for the workforce.

Image: NSW Minerals Council

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