Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Daily Examiner editor comments on plans to mine antimony on the NSW North Coast

Comment by David Bancroft, Editor, The Daily Examiner, Page 10, 27 October 2011:
Digging up mining dirt
MANY readers will be tempted to look at who is issuing the warning about antimony mining in our page three story today and not at what they are saying. That would be a mistake because what is being said has real substance.
Greens upper house member Jeremy Buckingham is clearly deeply concerned about the risks posed to Wild Cattle Creek and the Nymboida and Clarence rivers from proposed antimony and gold mining in the Wild Cattle Creek and Dorrigo plateau areas.
As we have said in this space previously, the consequences of a pollution spill during mining operations would have dire consequences for the Clarence and Coffs Harbour water supplies as well as the beef, dairy, fishing, horticulture and tourism industries of the Clarence Valley.
The ABC's 7.30 Report last Friday illustrated what can happen when the holding ponds of an antimony mine overflow.
It showed the Hillgrove mine, near Armidale, more than 100km from the coast. It has leaked contaminants into the Macleay River system and there are now exaggerated levels of pollutants from Hillgrove to the sea. Environment Minister Robyn Parker has already told parliament that pollution will be evident for "millennia".
Authorities are giving conflicting advice on the impact, on one hand saying there is no health threat to humans and on the other advising residents the water is unfit to drink.
Can you imagine what the impact on the tourism industry alone would be from the publicity that would surround pollution of the Clarence?
And it is just one of the industries that face potentially disastrous consequences from heavy metal mining.
We should not dismiss the prospect of mining out of hand because of the environmental risks - mining is essential.
But before we consider an application with such risks we should be absolutely certain we are not going to put long-term industries at risk for a relatively short-term gain.

Also Green's contamination fears by David Bancroft, 27 October 2011.

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