Drayton miners step up the campaign to save their jobs

January 23, 2014

Workers, community members and mining suppliers are stepping up their campaign to save more than 500 jobs at the Drayton South mine project in the Hunter Valley.

Anglo American’s Drayton coal mine has been operating for over 30 years just outside Muswellbrook. The mine is set to close in 2015 when mineable coal will be exhausted at the site, but the proposed Drayton South extension adjacent to the current mine would allow operations to continue using existing infrastructure.

However, a recent Planning Assessment Commission report into the project, now being considered by the NSW Government, has put the future of the mine workers at risk.

As concerns about the impact on local families and the local economy rise, Drayton mine workers, community members and businesses supplying the mine are calling on the NSW Government to approve the project.

Email Premier O’Farrell now to support Drayton miners

They’ve penned an open letter to NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, which is featuring in newspapers across Sydney and the Hunter Valley. And they’ve also taken to radio to have their voices heard.

Drayton worker Rod Vaughan is a second generation coal miner at the mine.

“Muswellbrook has been a mining town for as long as I can remember. Our employees are passionate about Drayton South and will do whatever it takes to show we need this project to support our families and sustain local business,” Mr Vaughan said.

                                                                              Concerned Drayton workers

Another supporter of Drayton South is a second year auto-electrical apprentice at Drayton and 2013 NSW Women in Mining Aspiring Star award winner Gabrielle Horn.

“I love my job and I love being a part of this community. Working at Drayton is like being a part of one big family. I have been given a fantastic opportunity and I plan to make the most of it. We need Drayton South so other young people can have a future in mining too,” says Gabrielle

Gus Mather, is Managing Director of Pirtek Muswellbrook, one of the local businesses that relies on demand from the mine.

“I strongly support the approval of Drayton South to provide a secure future for our business and our community. “Drayton mine has been a part of Pirtek Muswellbrook for 26 years and we have built our business around it. If Drayton South doesn’t get the go ahead the community will suffer enormously. We need Drayton South for our town to survive,” he said.

You can support these miners, you can take action by sending a tweet, sharing an image or sending a letter to the Premier  at voiceformining.com.au.

The mine has been operating for over three decades, with generations of families working as miners and many local businesses depending on the mine. If the Drayton South project is approved, not only will it secure the jobs of 500 miners but also create an additional 300 jobs during mine construction.

The existing operation provides work for 140 local businesses which together benefit from $70 million worth of local procurement each year, which would be lost if the extension isn’t approved.

Drayton mine General Manager Clarence Robertson said Anglo American had already responded to consultation with neighbours by changing its mine plan, investing more than $60 million on technical reports and giving up more than $5 billion worth of coal moving the future mine behind natural ridgelines to minimise the visual impact of the operation.

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