Rio slams NSW planning 'crisis'

By Sarah-Jane Tasker - The Australian

It is now fighting to have an amended proposal approved but it has continually warned that the 1300 jobs at the mine are at risk if it can’t expand the operation. “After more than five years in the planning system we still haven’t been able to secure the future of Mount Thorley Warkworth mine, which has been part of the Hunter Valley community for three decades,” Mr Salisbury said.

Rio’s coal Australia managing director, Chris Salisbury, told The Weekend Australian that the company had been continually frustrated by delays in the NSW system and slipping timelines. “If the system can’t provide certainty about the future of an existing mining operation that provides work for 1300 people and supports hundreds of local businesses, surely that shows there’s a serious problem,” he said.

Anglo’s chief executive of coal, Seamus French, this week said that the company did not accept the PAC process and did not believe that it protected the interests of local people or the state of NSW. “If Drayton South does not go ahead there is no other employer positioned to fill this void and the impact on the local towns, local schools and long-battling local businesses will suffer as our people have no choice but to move away to pursue opportunities elsewhere,” he said.

The state’s mining sector has rallied to raise concerns about a planning system it says is broken as the mining lobby warns that more than 8600 jobs in the Hunter Valley region are at risk.

The mining giant is caught up in the state’s planning process after an approval it had received to expand its Mount Thorley Warkworth coalmine in the Hunter Valley was overturned by the Land and Environment Court last year.

Read more here: Business Spectator


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