500 Hunter Valley mineworkers no longer have a job following the Planning Assessment Commission’s (PAC) review of the Drayton South project and its recommendation the project should not proceed.
Anglo American Coal CEO Seamus French said the devastating decision means Drayton mine, after more than 30 years of successful operation providing millions in wages, taxes, state royalties and community support, will wind down in 2016.
“This is the worst possible outcome for our workers, for the Hunter Valley community and for New South Wales,” Mr French said.
“Unemployment in the Hunter Valley is at eight per cent and to reject a project that would have continued to support this region for another 15 years, providing local people and their families with security, is incomprehensible.
“The PAC has ignored the detailed scientific assessments and peer-reviewed reports contained in the Project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), NSW Government policy and the expert advice of 13 government agencies.
“This decision sends a terrible message about NSW as an investment destination. The expert advice of Government agencies can be set aside on a whim.
“In this case, unfounded claims and threats from two horse studs have trumped the social and economic benefits of a considered, responsible project which has overwhelming community support.
“Anglo American has worked tirelessly on this project since 2009, spent over $70m in studies and application fees, consulted widely and refined our proposal to accommodate legitimate concerns.
“This included reducing the project footprint by over 25 per cent, ensuring all mining operations remain behind the second ridgeline nominated by the previous PAC in December 2013
“To provide our neighbours with additional certainty, we offered the NSW Government a binding agreement not to open cut mine in front of the designated second ridgeline.
“Only one side has been willing to compromise and we have worked within a planning system that has allowed all these concessions and scientific facts to be ignored, despite overwhelming public support for the project.
“On behalf of Anglo American, I would like to thank the over 10,000 people who made positive submissions in support of the project to the PAC or spoke in support of Drayton South at the public hearing.
“This was done in a manner which reflects the strength of the community Drayton has operated in for more than 30 years.
“We are very mindful of the stress this challenging process placed on our workers, their families, our 140 suppliers and the community.
“Our immediate focus is on our people and full support will be given to them at this extremely difficult time.”
Mr French confirmed that Anglo American will now review the PAC’s report in detail and carefully consider the closure plan for Drayton.
Media contact: Vanessa Davies – 0400 927 185
Notes to editors:
Anglo American is a global and diversified mining business that provides the raw materials essential for economic development and modern life. Our people are at the heart of our business. It is our people who use the latest technologies to find new resources, plan and build our mines and who mine, process and move and market our products – from bulk commodities and base metals to precious metals and diamonds (through De Beers) – to our customers around the world. Our diversified portfolio of products spans the economic development cycle and, as a responsible miner, we are the custodians of precious resources. We work together with our key partners and stakeholders to unlock the long-term value that those resources represent for our shareholders, but also for the communities and countries in which we operate – creating sustainable value and making a real difference. Our mining operations, growth projects and exploration and marketing activities extend across southern Africa, South America, Australia, North America, Asia and Europe.