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NSW govt mine backing outrages horse studs

AAP logoAAP 19/09/2016 Toby Mann

Horse breeders are outraged by the NSW government's decision to support a controversial Hunter Valley coal mine.

The controversial Drayton South coal mine looks set to go ahead with the NSW government recommending it be approved by an independent planning commission.

Hunter Thoroughbreds Association president Dr Cameron Collins says the decision "beggars belief".

Conditions designed to smooth tensions between mining and nearby thoroughbred studs include managing dust, noise and blasting, a Department of Planning and Environment spokeswoman said.

"The coal mining and thoroughbred stud industries have operated as neighbours for decades without major impact on either industry," she said.

The project has been in the mix for about six years and while the government says the two industries can co-exist, Dr Collins disagrees.

"What is extraordinary about the department's position is that it is prepared to allow the sacrifice of a sustainable long-term industry for the sake of one mine whose future is unknown," he said.

"The only people who have ever thought this project was approvable are either working for Anglo American or the Department of Planning."

Several reviews have been undertaken, including by ANU environmental economics expert Professor Jeff Bennett.

With "23 detailed conditions" to manage dust, noise, blasting and water problems, the stud's won't be "compromised," he said.

"The physical off-site effects of the project, like dust and noise, have been acknowledged as within accepted guidelines," he said.

Before final approval, the project will be assessed by the Planning Assessment Commission.

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