Anglo American has expressed support for the New South Wales Government’s decision to renew operations at the Drayton South coal mine. The NSW Government resources minister Don Harwin approved underground operations at the contentious coal mine last Friday (December 1).
The mine, located in the Hunter Valley, had attracted protest due to its proximity to renowned stud farms known for their thoroughbred racehorses.
“The proposal for a new open cut coal mine at Drayton South is 500 metres from the doorstep of two of our largest and international scale thoroughbred breeding operations, Coolmore Australia and Darley Australia,” read a statement on the mine by the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association (HTBA). “It is directly across the road from where families live and raise their children on these farms.”
Defenders of the mining operation, including the NSW Government, have suggested that it shouldn’t bother the horses, since mining would be kept underground.
“We are confident that, by mining underground, we can address concerns about past open-cut proposals,” said Malabar Coal in a statement last week. “An underground approach will make a dramatic difference in terms of impacts associated with dust, light, blasting, and noise.”
Anglo American divested its 88 per cent stake in the site in May 2017, including the Drayton thermal coal project and Drayton South prospect, to Malabar Coal for an undisclosed sum, following several approvals issues — most recently, a rejection by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) in February 2017.
David Diamond, chief executive officer of Anglo American’s metallurgical coal operations, voiced his approval of the government’s decision, saying it would present a significant opportunity for the Hunter Valley and New South Wales in general.
“The underground mining proposal developed by Anglo American delivered a coexistence solution to reduce impacts and disruptions to the community,” he said, “and allows the region to continue to develop and flourish, which the Hunter Valley region has for generations.”
Malabar Coal hopes to utilise resources from Drayton South for its adjacent Spur Hill coking coal project.