Green light given for Hunter Valley mine

Tom Magnier with the late Royal Academy at Coolmore in Australia

PICTURE: Coolmore Green light given for Hunter Valley mine By Martin Stevens 7:57PM 19 SEP 2016

COOLMORE and Darley's battle to fend off a large-scale open-cut mine on their doorstep in the Hunter Valley of Australia will go to an independent panel to be settled, after the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment gave plans the green light.

The Department said in a statement on Monday that coal mining and thoroughbred breeding had co-existed in the Hunter Valley for decades with no significant impact on either industry.

A spokesperson said of the Drayton South Coal Project propsal: "The Department has concluded that, with appropriate management and mitigation measures, the two industries can continue to operate in proximity.

"Findings from the independent Commission's two earlier assessments as well as responses from the community, the company, the Hunter thoroughbred industry, and agencies to these earlier processes have also been considered.

"As a result of this extensive assessment, the Department has recommended the project be approved by the commission subject to strict and updated conditions, including an ongoing liaison committee to establish and strengthen relationships between Anglo American and the two key neighbouring studs."

The Department has recommended 23 conditions for the open-cut mine, including strict criteria and management requirements for air quality, noise and water management.

Anglo American, which wants to build the mine, had commissioned a report on the project and the Department of Planning ordered an indepedent peer review of it, conducted by Professor Jeff Bennett of the Australian National University.

Bennett found that "the studs' operational potential will not be compromised by the Drayton South operation" and that "the physical off-site effects of the project (like dust and noise) have been acknowledged as within accepted guidelines".

The independent Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) will now make the final decision on the Drayton South Coal Project.

Previous plans for a mine at Drayton South have already been rejected by a PAC three times in a battle fought by horse breeders over five years.

Coolmore Australia's Tom Magnier told Australia's Daily Telegraph: "While the Department's position is disappointing, it is one that we have come to expect. They continue to show a lack of understanding of the realities of our business."

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