ANGLO American’s proposed sale of its Dartbrook coal mine to Nathan Tinkler after news of a “radical” global restructure has sparked concerns about the company’s response to a looming $275 million closure bill at its other Hunter mine, Drayton.
The NSW Government has been called on to strictly enforce rehabilition conditions at the mine after a Planning Assessment Commission in 2014 said it was “not confident” the work would be done, and a later commission recommended against Anglo’s plans for a Drayton South mine.
Anglo must cease mining at Drayton in December, 2017 and undertake a three year rehabilitation and decommissioning program if a final Planning Assessment Commission accepts the Drayton South mine should not proceed, primarily because of its impact on Hunter thoroughbred studs.
The Tinkler announcement two weeks ago, Anglo’s shock announcement in December of a “radical” restructure to shed 85,000 jobs worldwide, along with its $275 million closure bill at Drayton, heightened community concerns the company would not meet its obligations, Lock the Gate Alliance spokeswoman Georgina Woods said.
“There is a lot of community concern about whether Anglo is able to, or willing to, meet its obligations at Drayton,” Ms Woods said.
“This will be the first time we see what closure of a big mine in the Hunter looks like, and based on what we know about the global financial state of Anglo and Peabody, they are the big scary ones for the Hunter.”
Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders president Dr Cameron Collins called on the NSW Government to “stringently” enforce rehabilitation obligations, saying it “should not be left to Hunter communities, NSW taxpayers or future generations”.
An Anglo spokeswoman said mining at Drayton would cease in 2016. The company would “uphold its environmental commitments and adhere to the rehabilitation requirements” of its mine closure plan, and work closely with the Department of Industry.
Rehabilitation represented $50 million of the $275 million in closure costs noted in its 2014 annual report.