New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) has recommended that a plan to extend the life of Anglo American‘s Drayton South open-cut coalmine can be conditionally approved by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC).

Anglo American Drayton South Project director Rick Fairhurst said: "The Department’s preliminary recommendation agrees with Anglo American’s detailed and peer reviewed assessments which found the project will have no adverse effects on the health of horses on the Coolmore and Woodlands Studs."

"There are no valid scientific arguments to contradict the findings of Anglo American’s Equine Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) report and we are pleased the Department’s preliminary recommendation effectively confirms this."

The assessment carried out by the department revealed that the project would be able to comply with the relevant air, noise and blasting criteria at the Coolmore and Woodlands studs.

The department is also of the view that the project would not result in adverse impact on the health of horses residing either permanently or temporarily at the studs and also will not have any impact on the quantity or quality of water used by them.

DPE has concluded that Drayton South project will not affect the physical capability or suitability of the site that would be be used for horse breeding.

"Anglo American and our 500-strong workforce at the existing Drayton operation are pleased with the clear signal the DPE has sent the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC): Drayton South should go ahead," Fairhurst added.