Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Community concern over Anchor Resources mining plans in Clarence Catchment high country not going away

The Coffs Coast Advocate 21 February 2012:

CONCERN is growing in the tiny town of Tyringham on the Dorrigo plateau as 96% Chinese-owned Anchor Resources continues its exploratory drilling programs.

Tyringham resident Kathy Realph said with the plateau identified as a 'refuge' for wildlife already under threat from climate change, mining on the plateau would be devastating.

"We simply do not understand how Anchor can have a licence for a prospective site adjacent to the Mt Hyland Nature Reserve," Mrs Realph said.

She said the plateau was also located in the overlap zone of the New England Tablelands and the NSW North Coast bioregion, making it an area of higher biodiversity value than if either region were considered individually.

"This area is recognised internationally as a biodiversity hotspot".

Those campaigning against mining on the plateau have the support of Coffs Harbour City councillor Mark Graham, who has warned of the possible contamination of waterways.

"There are more than 100,000 people who receive water from this catchment under the Coffs Clarence Regional Water Supply," Mr Graham said.

"Toxins known from the orebodies on the Dorrigo Plateau that Anchor is seeking to mine include arsenic, antimony, mercury and lead, all are a threat to human health. Mining of these orebodies will endanger our watersupply and the health of the Clarence River."

Another resident, Ian Realph, highlighted the additional problem of huge economic losses to fisheries and tourism, should waterways become contaminated.

"Of course when Anchor talks to the community they will tell us that safeguards will be put in place and world's best practice will be employed but those same assurances were given by Exon Valdez and also Deep Water Horizon," Mr Realph said.

"We already have contamination issues in the Upper Macleay, Urunga Lagoon and the Mole River near Tenterfield."

In January Anchor Resources was fined $2500 for not rehabilitating land as required by law.

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