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Disappointment For Breeding Industry As Mine Gets Preliminary Approval
Mining giant Anglo American has been given a preliminary green light by the NSW government's Department of Planning for its controversial Drayton South mine expansion in the Hunter Valley, reports ABC News. Despite the independent Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) last year recommending the planned expansion should not go ahead, the Department has now dismissed concerns about the impact of the mine on nearby horse studs, saying it will not force them to move. It is a remarkable stance when one considers that the proposed location of the mine is situated just 900 metres from two of the world's largest thoroughbred breeding operations, Darley and Coolmore Studs. Opponents of the mine say the preliminary approval by planning officials now threatens the future viability of the Hunter Valley's internationally renowned thoroughbred breeding industry which invests billions of dollars and provides thousands of jobs. Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association vice president Henry Plumptre said the Department's preliminary recommendation is a massive blow to the industry. "When we read that they had recommended approval should be given to the mine we were profoundly disappointed as an industry for all the reasons that have been previously presented to two previous PACs," he said. "The Determining PAC last year and a Review PAC in 2013 both came to the conclusion that the project should not be granted approval." Mr Plumptre, who is also Darley Australia's managing director, said he is appalled that the Department has stated its position before next month's PAC hearing in Denman. "What I have a problem with is the Planning Department making a recommendation for approval of a project prior to a Planning Assessment Commission sitting down and looking at submissions," he said. "I don't think it's their place to do that, and I basically think that that is completely out of order."