Monday, 19 December 2011

Running counter to Anchor Resources antimony mining propaganda

From North Coast Voices on 19 December 2011:
The 101 year-old Don Dorrigo Gazette ran this letter to the editor by Jacqueline Williams on its front page in December 2011:
Mining in Dorrigo: another perspective
The article appearing in the Don Dorrigo Gazette 16/11/2011 under the heading ‘Mining in Dorrigo’ presents information that appears to be directly from an Anchor Resources brochure on the Bielsdown Project.  It would seem appropriate to question and challenge this article and highlight perhaps what we the community haven’t been told.
Anchor Resources is one of three companies holding mineral exploration licences on the Plateau and is currently the most active. Anchor Resources activities include drilling for gold at Dundurrabin, proposed drilling for antimony/gold at Wongwibinda (Fishington Mine) and further drilling at Bielsdown. This flurry of activity in our region reflects the rising price of antimony, gold and other metals and I question whether this is due to resource scarcity or market manipulation? China produces 90% of the worlds antimony, and we have seen the price of antimony skyrocket from $4K per tonne to $16K per tonne in the last two years.  This price increase has largely been associated with the closure of a number of large producing antimony mines in China due to human health/safety and environmental concerns. It is pertinent to add here that Anchor Resources is now at least 96% owned by the Chinese company Shandong Jinshunda Group as of mid 2011.
I note that Anchor Resources refer to the exploration licence process, however it is difficult to find the latest approval for their Bielsdown project with the Government gazette showing an application to renew the licence in February 2011, however this licence doesn’t appear to be granted as yet. Also of concern is that a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) has not been undertaken for any of the exploration licence applications submitted by Anchor for the Bielsdown project since 2007.  My understanding is that a REF is a requirement of all exploration licence applicants to undertake an environmental impact assessment of the proposed activities so that NSW DPI can make an assessment under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 prior to granting the licence. Given that the Bielsdown project location has state and national significance as habitat for threatened species I question the currency of the exploration licence and how the NSW government has overlooked an important part of the approval process. This is not to mention the requirements under the Commonwealth legislation that the location triggers. It is unclear whether Anchor Resources have notified the Commonwealth government to determine if their exploration activities are considered a ‘controlled action’ under the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requiring further environmental impact assessment and approval. Many farmers have shared with me their frustration about their efforts and sacrifices in conserving native vegetation and habitat for the public good only to see mining companies given open slather.
I don’t wish to dwell solely on the environmental issues surrounding the potential of mining on the Plateau, as there are other issues that need to be considered. It seems that Dorrigo is not immune to the unprecedented mining expansion in regional Australia where the potential social and economic impacts need to be considered by the communities faced with these challenges. As the current legislation has been identified as inadequate to accommodate the risks, new policies are being developed and proposals to change legislation under debate. In the meantime, mining activities continue to expand.  In considering the full impacts of mining, the concerns of landholders and rural communities should not be dismissed as simply ‘alarmist’......

Read the full letter here.

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Friday, 9 December 2011

China Shandong Jinshunda Group caught out over fudged claims of widespread community consultation

Editor David Bancroft writing in The Daily Examiner, 9 December 2011:
A MINING company's claim to have consulted widely about antimony mining in the Wild Cattle Creek area has been disputed by one of the area's environmental groups.
Dorrigo Environment Watch member Matt Forde said claims from Anchor Resources general manager Ian Price about community consultation did not match their own research.
Mr Price told ABC Radio on October 6 the company had consulted widely with residents, particularly in the area affected by the project.
"We are continuing that consultation into the local community," Mr Price said.
But Mr Forde said his group had members residing in the area who had received no communication, so decided to phone around to see how many had.
"Results from the survey found that 52% of landholders had received no communication from Anchor Resources, while 26% were contacted in 2009, with no further communication," he said
"Seventeen per cent of landholders had communications in 2009 and 2010 and 13% of landholders have been communicated with between 2009 to 2011.
"One of these landholders received over 96 emails from Anchor Resources in a two-year period, mostly in relation to access agreements."
Mr Price, who was in Dorrigo yesterday, said he was relatively new to the company but company records showed there had been consultation in 2009.
He said there was no timetable for drilling in the area and land access had not been negotiated.
There had been ongoing discussion with affected landowners, he said.
Once land access was negotiated, the company would undertake another round of consultation, which would be detailed.

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Monday, 5 December 2011

Here we go again ... another ratbag!

The title of this post is the exact wording of the opening sentence of an email sent by one Clarence Valley resident earlier today, alerting me to the fact that at least some of those irrigators (unhappy with the latest manifestation of the Draft Murray Darling Basin Plan) have turned their greedy eyes and intransigent hearts towards the Clarence River catchment once more.
…managing director of South Australian citrus and dairy company Nippy's, Jeff Knispel,……. Mr Knispel advocated considering the social and economic benefits of building a hydro electricity dam at the head of northern NSW's Clarence River and dropping the water into the western-flowing river system, feeding the Darling River.

Apparently the resounding “No!” communities in the Clarence catchment have been shouting for decades to every move to dam and divert freshwater to the inevitable detriment of the local economy, agriculture, industry, visual amenity, cultural significance, water sustainability/security and biodiversity is still falling on the deaf ears of faraway irrigators who believe they have a God-given right to rape and plunder Australia’s most vital natural resource.

Well, my patience is long worn out and, Nippy’s Fruit Juices Pty Ltd, Nippy’s All Seasons Pty Ltd, Knispel Bros Pty Ltd and Nippy's Waikerie Producers Pty Ltd can confidently predict that none of their product will ever be purchased by me or mine.

That, Mr. Jeff Knispel is Natually as good as it gets.

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What the Clarence Valley is fighting for (18)

Tributaries flowing
from the Nymboida River high country
down towards the Clarence River

Photographs found at Google Images

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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Antimony becomes a dirty word on the NSW North Coast

ABC Mid North Coast News 2 December 2011:

A community alliance has been formed to oppose antimony mining on the Dorrigo Plateau.
The group is working to stop the reopening of the old Wild Cattle Creek near Bielsdown.
The alliance says the Anchor Resources plan could lead to pollution in the headwaters of the Nymboida River which feeds the Coffs-Clarence public water supply.
Coffs councillor Mark Graham says recent stormwater overflows from the old Hillgrove mine on the plateau highlight concerns.
"These are essentially pristine headwaters areas, which provide drinking and good clean water important for many of the industries in our region," he said.
"We've seen in our Macleay River, major contamination because of the mining at Hillgrove.
"We need to learn lessons from that and avoid making these mistakes again."
Cr Graham says the community is determined to be heard.
"The determining authority for mining application is state and in some instances the Commonwealth Government," he said.
"Community groups have aligned and formed together in an alliance to oppose mining on the Dorrigo Plateau."

The Daily Examiner 1 December 2011:

Chinese-owned Anchor Resources holds a licence to explore the Bielsdown site, but no approval has been issued for mining.
Groups including Dorrigo Environment Watch, Antimony Action, NSW Greens and North Coast Voices fear that any mining activity in the high-rainfall area could lead to contamination of the Clarence/Coffs Harbour water supply.
"The effects of antimony poisoning are similar to arsenic poisoning," a Greens statement on the issue said. "In small doses, antimony causes headaches, dizziness and depression.
"Larger doses damage the kidneys and the liver, causing violent and frequent vomiting and will lead to death within a few days; otherwise skin contact causes dermatitis."
The ABC's 7.30 Report covered the story about prior Hillgrove spills, their impact and the Wild Cattle Creek plans in October.

ABC Mid North Coast News 29 November 2011:

There has been another heavy metal spill into the Macleay River from a gold and antimony mine in the upper catchment.
Heavy rain over the weekend caused an overflow from a stormwater dam at the Hillgrove mine near Armidale.
The Kempsey council's infrastructure manager, Robert Scott, says the contamination sounds worse than it actually is.
He says the rain caused the spill but it also helped dilute it.
"At the moment the dams in the Hillgrove mine, because they've received around about 290mm of rainfall for the month of November alone, are full, they are discharging," he said.
"We are seeing a massive dilution factor as a result of the overall flow that's coming off the New England Tablelands at the moment, which has resulted in relatively low levels of discharge directly from the mine."
However, conservationists are worried about the latest spill into the Upper Macleay.
Coffs Harbour Greens' councillor Mark Graham says the spill in the region's drinking water catchment should be grounds for concern.
"I think that all the evidence is that the river is contaminated by mining practices and it's not just the historic mining practices," he said.
"The owners of the Hillgrove mine, Straits Mining, were recently fined $50,000 in the Land and Environment Court for ongoing contamination to the headwaters of the Macleay.
"These mines are creating ongoing contamination for the catchment.

North Coast Voices 30 November 2011:

No Antimony Mine on the Dorrigo Plateau - get your bumper stickers now

The bumper stickers are available from Kombu Wholefoods in Bellingen, The Happy Frog in Coffs Harbour, The Clarence Environment Centre in South Grafton, Sawtell Paradise Fruit, The Sawtell Newsagency, Hickory Wholefoods in Dorrigo, Dorrigo Environment Watch Inc., Antimony Action and local NSW Greens groups.
Further information about the proposed reopening of the mine and about the dangers of antimony mining in high rainfall areas is available at  

North Coast Voices 17 November 2011:

Just to remind our elected representatives in all three tiers of government that mercury and arsenic have consequences, here is a media report from New Zealand this month as one small community struggles with the reality of soil contamination from arsenic laden mine tailings dumped during the last century:
The Ministry of Health advises Moanataiari residents to:
- Take care with personal hygiene (i.e. hand washing after handling soil);
- Make sure children don't eat or play in soil;
- Remove footwear before going indoors to avoid carrying soil dust indoors - particularly for households with very young children;
- Cover soil (e.g. grassing, paving, gravel) to reduce dust and direct access by young children;
- Not to eat home grown fruit and vegetables, especially young children, until further quantification of the contamination is available and the risk can be assessed, unless it is known that the garden soil is clean fill. If you choose to eat home grown fruit and vegetables, then thoroughly wash produce that may be contaminated with soil, and peel the skin off root vegetables;
- Don't be concerned about the drinking water supply, it is separate (and safe);
- As always, if unwell for any reason, see your doctor.

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