Friday, 11 November 2011

O'Farrell Government blocks motion calling for moratorium on mining approvals on the Dorrigo Plateau and Clarence River Catchment

Today the NSW Parliament Legislative Council was adjourned at 3.52 pm until Tuesday 22 November 2011 at 2.30 pm.
However, before the House rose the O’Farrell Coalition Government gave voters on the NSW North Coast a very good reason to reject his candidate, Chris Gulaptis, at the 19 November Clarence by-election when it used its numbers and influence to block this motion:
349. Mr Buckingham to move—
1. That this House notes that:
(a) Anchor Resources Limited have conducted scoping studies that indicate a resource  of 17,500 tons of antimony have been found at both Wild Cattle Creek near Nymboida, and  the Blicks River to the northwest of Dorrigo on the mid north coast of New South Wales,
(b) Anchor Resources Limited has recently been subject to a majority takeover by the Chinese minerals company China Shandong Jinshunda Group Limited which now owns over 90 per cent of the company,
(c) antimony is a mineral resource used for a range of high tech products such as polymers, fire retardants and electronics,
(d) antimony and many of its compounds are toxic and the World Health Organisation has stated that oral consumption can result in "a strong irritating effect on the gastrointestinal mucosa and trigger sustained vomiting ... abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and cardiac toxicity",
(e) the Wild Cattle Creek project is located within the headwaters of the Nymboida River, which is the highest rainfall catchment in New South Wales,
(f) the majority of the municipal water supply for more than 100,000 residents in Coffs Harbour is provided by Shannon Creek Dam which is fed by pipes directly from the Nymboida River,
(g) the Nymboida also flows into the Clarence River which provides water for domestic and agricultural purposes and is part of an important fishery based around Yamba,
(h) the high rainfall of the catchment means there is a significant risk that run off containing antimony and arsenic from any mine site could contaminate the river systems,
(i) a previous antimony ore processing plant at Urunga Lagoon has been described in the Bellingen Council 2009-10 State of the Environment Report as seriously contaminated and unable to be rehabilitated, and
(j) the Government has admitted that mining activities at Hillgrove have caused serious and long-term contamination of the Macleay River from the mine to the Pacific Ocean.
2. That this House calls on the Government to:
(a) place a moratorium on mining approvals on the Dorrigo Plateau and Clarence until the Strategic Regional Land Use Plan has been completed for this area, and
(b) consider declaring the area around Wild Cattle Creek at the headwaters of the Nymboida an environmentally sensitive area, off-limits to mining as per the Coalition's Strategic Regional Land Use Policy.
(Notice given 8 November 2011—expires Notice Paper No. 72)
Legislative Council Notice Paper No. 55—Friday 11 November 2011

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Protect our NSW North Coast Water Supply from Mining

Coffs Harbour councillor, Mark Graham, can understand why a group of  local citizens would choose to demonstrate their concern by rallying at the Karangi Dam this Saturday at 11.00 am.
“ I have already warned that the Coffs Harbour Council’s investment in a safe water supply is at risk.
“The proposed antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek has the potential to poison the waters of the Nymboida and Clarence Rivers. The Macleay River has already been poisoned with arsenic and antimony for millennia, a result of mining.
“It is extremely unlikely that this proposed Chinese owned mine can operate safely and remain safe after its Chinese owners have moved on. An open cut mine 1.5km long and 0.5km wide open to the sky in that extremely high rainfall area will generate an enormous amount of polluted water.
It could end up in the Karangi Dam and then in the taps of our homes, schools and nurseries.
[Coffs Harbour City Cr. Mark Graham,media release,10 November 2011]

Greens candidate for the Clarence by-election, Janet Cavanaugh, today gave her support to the rally at Karangi Dam on Saturday morning which is demonstrating against the proposed antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek in the headwaters of the Coffs-Clarence regional water supply.
“This rally should be a reminder to the O’Farrell Government that this proposed mine is not just an issue for the Clarence electorate but also for Coffs Harbour,” Ms Cavanaugh said.
“The residents of Coffs Harbour should be demanding Andrew Fraser MP to represent their interests and secure a guarantee from the Government that no large open cut mine will be permitted in the catchment of our shared water supply.
“Voters in the Clarence Valley should be also be sending a message to Sydney by casting their vote for the candidates who are raising this issue on their behalf.
“Vague statements from the Premier that a newly formed Environmental Protection Agency will somehow guarantee the safety of our water supply are too weak. For a start, he is not recognising that compliance with pollution licensing is likely to be constrained by a lack of staff and the remoteness of the site.
“Most significantly, he is not recognising that an open cut mine in that area with extremely high rainfall will generate an enormous amount of polluted water in the Nymboida River, which could end up in the Shannon Creek Dam and also in Karangi Dam, and then our taps,” she said.
The protest picnic at Karangi Dam will be held this Saturday morning (12 November) at 11am.  [Greens Clarence by-election candidate Janet Cavanaugh,10 November 2011]

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The Greens issue Clarence By-election challenge in defence of water security

The Greens threw down a political gauntlet in support of their candidate, Janet Cavanaugh, on 1 November 2011 and it would be foolish if any other candidate in the Clarence by-election continued to ignore these issues.
The Daily Examiner 2 November 2011:
THE GREENS have issued a challenge to all contenders for the upcoming Clarence by-election - state your position on mining at the headwaters of the Clarence River.
NSW Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham was in Grafton yesterday in support of Greens candidate for Clarence, Janet Cavanaugh.
The pair raised grave concerns for the Clarence River if a 1.5km x 0.5km open cut antimony mine was approved at Wild Cattle Creek - a tributary of the Nymboida River.
Readings near the proposed mine site, which is being explored by Anchor Resources, have already shown dangerously high levels of antimony and arsenic.
"We are calling on voters to send a message to Barry O'Farrell, letting him know that they want him to rule out mining in the headwaters of the Clarence," Mr Buckingham said. "We're not against all mining but it's got to be responsible mining.
"The risks associated with mining - especially for antimony and gold in the headwaters of the Clarence are too great.
"The experience in the Macleay should be a cautionary tale - you've got an entire river system that's been polluted that's going to be impacted for a millennia to come. "…….
"You would not want to see that happen in the Clarence and put at risk the tourism, the agriculture, the fisheries……..
Mr Buckingham called for a fast-tracking of a Strategic Regional Landuse Policy for the North Coast.
He said the Upper Hunter, New England North West, Central West and Southern Highlands would have SRLPs done out of this year's budget of $2.1 million but he was unsure when the North Coast's policy would be done.
"With the amount of mining and coal seam gas proposed in the Dorrigo Plateau, the Macleay, Clarence Richmond and Tweed Valleys - a SRLP should fast-tracked for the region."

Full article here.

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