Union, business and coal industry representatives have written a letter to the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in support of Malabar Coal's push to develop an underground mine at Drayton South near Muswellbrook.
Malabar Coal have been running a series of advertisements in the local media promoting an underground mine as a viable option for the Drayton South site. The company has signed an agreement to purchase both that site and the former Drayton mine site from Anglo American subject to certain conditions.
One of those being the renewal of the Drayton South Exploration Licence (EL 5460) that had expired on April 1, 2016. Renewal of the licence is now being considered by the NSW Department of Resources.
Development of the coal reserves at Drayton South has involved a long battle between Anglo and their supporters and the neighbouring thoroughbred studs, Coolmore and Godolphin and their supporters.
Anglo’s plans to develop an open cut mine on the site has been repeatedly rejected by the state’s Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) with each PAC clearly stating coal mining adjacent to thoroughbred breeding operations is incompatible.
Malabar are arguing in their media statements that an underground mine can co-exist with horse breeding.
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy, Northern District president Peter Jordan, NSW Mining, chief executive officer Stephen Galilee and Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce & Industry, president Mike Kelly have all signed the letter to the Premier supporting Malabar’s underground mine proposal and the need to renew the EL. The letter says the project would provide 350 new and direct long-term job. They understand that renewing the EL does not mean the project gains approval rather that it allows for Malabar to put their proposal through the state’s planning process.
Strongly opposed to any mine on the Drayton South site is the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association (HBTA).
“Four independent Planning Assessment Commissions have ruled against mining at the Drayton South Site. Five PACs have concluded that mining and thoroughbred breeding are incompatible land uses in close proximity.” said Dr Cameron Collins, President HTBA
“If the Government is serious about preserving the world renown Hunter Valley thoroughbred breeding industry and the thousands of jobs it supports, it should not renew the expired Drayton South exploration licence, act immediately to amend it State Environmental Planning Policy to prohibit mining on the Drayton South site and act to protect the Hunter’s Equine Critical Industry Cluster."
"The Government must show leadership and end the land use conflict in the Hunter.”