The Hunter is know for its wine, well bred horses, fresh produce and increasingly its open cut coal mines, and power stations.
Anglo American’s Drayton South project proposal is just 500 metres from some of the region’s most prized horse studs, prompting breeders to call on the NSW state government to implement buffer zones.
The buffer zones are similar to exclusion zones it has previously announced and are designed to protect homes, vineyards and the equine industry from mining activity, the Newcastle Herald reported.
New Images released yesterday show the difference between today’s view and the expected view in five years time from nearby Darley Woodlands stud, located outside of Denman, if the Drayton South project goes ahead.
The view today:
If the Drayton South mine project goes ahead, this will be the view from the horse stud in five years time:
Darley director Andrew Wiles said the existing Mount Arthur mine located10kilometres away is tolerable but if Drayton South was approved it would force the stud to consider closing its multimillion-dollar operations in NSW.
‘‘For us it will be one continuous crater from our front doorstep stretching 10 kilometres to the north,’’ he said.
‘‘The prospect is totally confronting and completely incompatible with the amenity that is important for us to attract clients and stakeholders to our commercial proposition.’’
An Anglo American spokeswoman said the visual impacts of the Drayton South operation on Darley would be minimal but ‘‘as a measure of good faith we developed working drafts of maps indicating worst-case scenario visual impacts looking from a high and rarely used location on their property’’.
The Hunter Valley’s equine industry and vineyards were also included.
‘‘We’re about setting boundaries,’’ Premier Barry O’Farrell said.
‘‘There’s lots of the state well away from people … well away from critical industry clusters that can and should be developed [for coal seam gas].’’
To date the government has rejected calls for the same exclusions for open-cut mines.
Wiles said a ‘‘consistent approach’’ was needed to address coalmining ‘‘which is equally intrusive, if not more intrusive’’ than CSG.
Drayton mine has said poor air quality from the proposed Drayton South mine will render the site of a $14 million tourist project ‘‘unsuitable’’.
The mine’s nearest neighbour Arrowfield Estate Vineyard’s proposal was ‘‘not in the public interest due to potential air quality effects from the Drayton mine’’, the mine’s legal firm, Sparke Helmore, said in an objection to Muswellbrook Shire Council last August.
Images: Newcastle Herald