Commission ruling welcomed by HTBA

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission has recommended the latest Drayton South mine plan proposal should not be approved.

Owned by multi-national giant Anglo American, the proposal typifies the issue of land use conflict between agriculture and mining in the Hunter Valley.

If given the go ahead the open cut mine would eventually come within 500 metres of Coolmore Stud.  If knocked back, the mine’s owners say it will soon run out of coal and be forced to close down, costing hundreds of jobs.

“Our entire industry welcomes this report,” Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association president Dr Cameron Collins said.  “Without Coolmore and Darley, our globally recognised critical industry cluster in the Hunter Valley would be at risk along with hundreds of jobs along with our support and supply industries.

“The PAC report lays the foundations that rightly recognise the importance of Darley and Coolmore to breeding and racing in this country and the significant risks to our industry and environment posed by this mine.

“There are two more steps, as we understand it, to the process,” Collins continued.  “A Director General’s Report and a final PAC determination.  We hope that these decision makers follow the PAC’s lead, come to see for themselves how we operate and how important Coolmore and Darley are to our entire industry, and importantly, uphold and endorse the PAC’s recommendations.”

The HTBA is facing a critical year in 2014.  “A number of Government decisions will determine the future of our industry and our ability to contribute to the success of significant events, including the NSW Autumn racing carnival,” Collins added.

“We have always contended that this is one mine in the wrong place that has the potential to devastate an entire industry and that no amount of mitigation could avoid or reduce the significant adverse impacts of this mine.  We are pleased that the PAC and their experts have come to the same conclusions.”