Workers petition for Hunter Valley mine expansion

Workers at Anglo’s Drayton mine in the Hunter Valley have started a petition urging the government to support the expansion of their mine, a move they say will save their jobs.

It is the second time employees working in the Hunter Valley have taken to lobbying the government for expansion approval. Last month more than 1500 people dependant on Rio Tinto’s Mt Thorley Warkworth mine tabled a petition in NSW parliament.

The Drayton petition calls on the state government to progress approvals for the Drayton South open cut coal mine.

The Drayton South mine will be a replacement for Drayton mine which is set to close in 2017.

The 500 current employees at Drayton will be automatically employed at the new mine which is adjacent to the existing operation.

However, opposition to the mine has been strong.

The project 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.

Darley Woodlands stud 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.’’

Public hearings for the project were due to start this month but NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard stopped the process and appointed an independent mining engineer to review the project, The Singleton Argus reported.

Drayton mine general manager Clarence Robertson said the mine had been in operation for 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.


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