Anglo American’s revised plans for its Drayton South coal mine expansion have been approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, despite Anglo’s plans to completely exit its Australian operations.
The approvals come on the back of Anglo stating it would be forced to close its currently operating Drayton coal mine at the end of the month if approvals for the Drayton South extension were not forthcoming.
The proposed Drayton South extension plan was put forward as a way to extend the Anglo American operations in the Hunter Valley, however it saw consistent setbacks during its approval process, which have nixed the extended closure date.
The DPE gave preliminary recommendations that that project be approved by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC).
This is the third time the project has reached this stage, after being rejected twice previously, forcing the mine to change its development plans.
Now the DPE has again recommend that Drayton South’s now revised plans be approved.
The decision will now move once more to an independent Planning Assessment Commission.
According to the Newcastle Herald, the revised expansion plan combined with a willingness to work within the commission’s original guidelines has prompted approvals.
“The department has concluded that, with appropriate management and mitigation measures, the two industries can continue to operate in proximity,” a DPE spokesperson said.
“Findings from the independent Commission’s two earlier assessments as well as responses from the community, the company, the Hunter thoroughbred industry, and agencies to these earlier processes have also been considered.
“As a result of this extensive assessment, the Department has recommended the project be approved by the Commission subject to strict and updated conditions.”
It is not known how Anglo American’s plans to divest its Australian operations will impact the mine’s development.