Scepticism about Anglo American’s ability to rehabilitate the Drayton coal mine in the Hunter Valley has resurfaced after news of a global restructuring for the mining heavyweight.
Conditions for the Drayton mine specify a three year period of decommissioning and rehab after the December 2017 closure, however a 2014 Planning and Assessment Commission report said it was “not confident” the work would be carried out.
Newcastle Herald reported a spokesperson for Anglo American said mining will cease in 2016, while the closure is expected to cost around $275 million, including $50 million in rehab costs.
Environmental advocacy group Lock the Gate has expressed concerns about Anglo American’s intentions and abilities to carry out the rehab, in the wake of their December announcement to shed 85,000 jobs around the world.
“There is a lot of community concern about whether Anglo is able to, or willing to, meet its obligations at Drayton,” Ms Woods said.
“This will be the first time we see what closure of a big mine in the Hunter looks like, and based on what we know about the global financial state of Anglo and Peabody, they are the big scary ones for the Hunter.”
The Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders president Cameron Collins called on NSW Government to enforce rehabilitation conditions, voicing his fears about the prospect of such responsibilities falling to “Hunter communities, NSW taxpayers or future generations”.
Late last year Anglo American revealed it had agreed to sell the Dartbrook mine to Nathan Tinkler-owned Australian Pacific Coal.
However, the recent purchase has given rise to rumours that Australian Pacific Coal may use the purchase as a platform to acquire Rio Tinto’s Mount Pleasant coal project, which lies south-east of the Dartbrook mine.