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Minister denies change to Drayton South policy

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World Coal,

New South Wales Planning Minister Rob Stokes has denied any changes to government policy regarding the Drayton South coal project after a report in The Australian suggested the government was drawing up plans to protect two horse breeding facilities from the proposed opencast mine.

According to The Australian, the New South Wales government was considering options, such as a change in mining law to allow the cancellation of exploration licences when planning application has been denied on a number of occasions, or the creation of a buffer zone around Drayton South development to protect the stables.

The independent NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) recommended development of the Drayton South project should not proceed last November. The Ministry of Planning disagreed with that assessment and referred it back to the PAC for determination in September. A decision on the current application is expected in 1Q17.

“There has been no change to government policy and any suggestions to the contrary are incorrect,” said Stokes in a statement, adding that it would be “inappropriate to comment further before the commission makes a determination.”

The Drayton South project would develop a replacement for the existing Drayton opencast mine in the Hunter Valley – a region famous for its winemaking as horse breeding, as well as its coal.

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