The CFMEU has urged the NSW government to get behind the expansion of Anglo American’s Drayton South mine.
The calls come after a recent Planning Assessment Commission report into the project recommended it be rejected, finding the expansion would have adverse effects on two nearby horse studs as a result of dust and noise.
A new panel of members will now evaluate the project on behalf of Planning Minister Brad Hazzard.
CFMEU Mining and Energy Northern District President Peter Jordan said the mine’s extension was vital in ensuring mining in the region remained strong.
“Coal mining is a critical industry for the Hunter, generating wealth and skilled, secure jobs. It’s important that new projects come online to make up for those winding down,” Jordan said.
The 500 current employees at Drayton will be automatically employed at the new mine which is adjacent to the existing operation, however Anglo say all jobs are at risk if the expansion does not gain approval.
Last month Anglo penned an open letter to NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell on behalf of workers at its Drayton mine urging him to support the project.
Drayton mine general manager Clarence Robertson said the mine had been in operation for close to 30 years and Drayton South would offer employees at least another 27 years of work.
“Many people – and their families – were counting on this,” Robertson said.
The NSW Minerals Council is also on board, urging people to use social media to lobby for the project’s approval.
“The existing operation provides work for 140 local businesses which together benefit from $70 million worth of local procurement each year, which would be lost if the extension isn’t approved,” the council said.