Breeders step up efforts against increased mining

Australia’s biggest thoroughbred breeders have stepped up their efforts against increased mining in the Hunter Valley which produces half of Australia’s annual foal crop.

Henry Plumptre at Rosehill on March 28, 2009  - photo   by Martin King / Sportpix copyright The Thoroughbred Breeders of the Hunter Valley chose the Magic Millions sale at the Gold Coast to launch their campaign on Thursday, asking for local and international support.
Campaign leader Henry Plumptre of Darley Stud said the Hunter Valley region in NSW was internationally recognised as Australia’s thoroughbred breeding capital.
"It holds the second largest concentration of horse studs in the world outside Kentucky in the United States," Plumptre said.
"It produces approximately half of all thoroughbreds born annually in Australia.
"This year yearlings by Hunter Valley stallions represent upwards of 70 per cent of the Magic Millions catalogue – over all sessions."
Plumptre said his organisation was not against mining but a way needed to be found to protect the Hunter Valley.
"This is not an anti-mining campaign," he said.
"This is a campaign that aims to educate our politicians, decision makers and the wider community about the importance of our industry and the contribution we make to local, state and national economies.
"It is a campaign that seeks to achieve a strategic holistic plan for the Hunter Valley so that we can plan confidently for the future and protect our industry and environment for future generations."
A protest rally was held in the Hunter Valley town of Scone in November against the Bickham Coal Mine which wants to develop an open cut thermal mine.
The proposed mine is close to water courses which service Arrowfield, Darley and Vinery Studs among others.
The impact of coal dust on young horses is also of concern to breeders.