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Breeders May Leave Hunter If Mine Approved

Friday, 11th October 2013

Top executives from the thoroughbred breeding industry have warned they may have to leave the Hunter Valley if the controversial Drayton South coal mine is approved, reports theherald.com.au. The future of the Hunter's multi-billion thoroughbred industry would be in jeopardy if the $500 million Drayton South coal mine goes ahead, according to several prominent local industry figures. Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association president Dr Cameron Collins told the Planning Assessment Commission hearing that the prime agricultural industry was fundamentally incompatible with mining. "We cannot co-exist in such close proximity to a coal mine; this proposal is best described as a hostile take-over. Nowhere else in the world would this be allowed to happen," Dr Collins said. "This decision (Drayton South) will either confirm our future or trigger our demise." Coolmore Australia chairman Ken Barry said that the closest open-cut mine to the stud's farm was presently 7 km, but that the proposed Drayton South mine would be only 1.5 km away. "As far as we are concerned we have reached the end of the road as far as open-cut mines moving closer to stud farms," he said. People packed into the Denman Memorial Hall on Wednesday to hear speakers from both sides argue for and against the mine. Scone Race Club chief executive Noel Leckie warned of the potential dire consequences if the Hunter's two biggest studs Darley and Coolmore did decide to move. "Horse breeding has been in the Hunter Valley for the past 200 years. We would lose everything if they left," he said.

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