Anglo American determined to save jobs with new plan

December 01, 2014

First came shock, then disappointment, anger and now relief for the 500 workers at Anglo American’s Drayton mine, at least for the time being as the company tries for a third time to gain approval to continue mining and keep its workforce employed.
Management have told the team at its Drayton mine that a new mine plan has been devised which will allow the mine to continue operation into the new year. 
They have also been informed that a third Drayton South project proposal will to be submitted to the NSW Government early in 2015 to continue mining operations and provide long term employment for everyone at the mine.
If approved, the Drayton South project will generate up to $35 million in royalty payments to the NSW Government and $70 million a year in payments to local businesses. But the broken planning system has put this investment in the economy and the jobs of the 500 people working at the mine at risk, a message highlighted in the NSW Minerals Council’s Hurt Mining, Hurt NSW campaign.
In October, the NSW Planning Assessment Commission’s decision to reject the Drayton South project was leaked to the media, shocking the local community and the 500 families who futures became very uncertain. And there was a big response with around 1,000 people contacting the NSW Premier through to call for fairer treatment of the Drayton workforce and to fix the planning system to make sure we would never see a repeat of this situation 
Anglo American’s Head of Open Cut Operations Mark Heaton confirmed that to be able to secure long term positions, an urgent decision must be made on its revised Drayton South proposal.
“Looking first at the coal we have left at Drayton, we have developed an interim mine plan that would allow operations to continue until early next year which satisfies our immediate employment challenges, however for ongoing employment continuity we require a speedy resolution for the Drayton South project,” he said.
At the NSW Minerals Council’s Industry & Suppliers Conference at NSW Parliament House in Sydney last month, NSW Premier Mike Baird made a commitment to halve planning timeframes and to give more certainty to mine workers and the communities where they live and work. 
Mr Heaton said he hopes the Premier will stick to his promise and step in to save job losses at Drayton mine.
“We ask the NSW Government to honour their recent comments about the need for planning reform and shorter project assessment periods, act on their statements about supporting the industry and approve the revised Drayton South proposal when it is lodged to avoid pending job losses,” Mr Heaton said.
While plans to keep the existing Drayton mine operating beyond Christmas is a welcome relief for Drayton workers, Mr Heaton emphasises that they are doing whatever they can to secure a future for his staff and include them in the ongoing process.
“Unfortunately for our workforce, despite some recent encouraging words from the Government regarding the need for planning reform, we cannot be more definitive at this point in time and the period of prolonged uncertainty continues.
“From our end we are looking at all options to secure the Drayton South project and a future for Drayton employees, and we’ll work with our employees every step of the way.”

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