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01/03 - Hundreds protest cyanide proposal

HUNDREDS gathered in Moruya on Sunday to protest Unity Mining’s proposed changes to its Majors Creek gold mine.

The company has applied for a variation to its development consent to allow final processing of gold with cyanide.

The protest began with a flotilla of kayakers, boaters and stand-up paddleboarders who made their way downstream the Moruya River from the Moruya District Hospital to the Moruya Boat Ramp, near Riverside Park.

Meanwhile about 150 people gathered on the Moruya Bridge with banners joining in protest as the watercraft floated underneath.

The entire group then gathered at Riverside Park to hear a range of speakers, including representatives from the Majors Creek Catchment Guardians, The Araluen Valley Producers and Protectors of the Ecosystems Coalition (AVPPEC), Deua River Care and the Nature Coast Marine Group.

Several Greens representatives also spoke, including Eurobodalla Greens councillor Gabi Harding as MC, Greens NSW MLC Mehreen Faruqi, Greens candidate for Monaro Peter Marshall, Greens senate candidate Justin Field and Bega Greens candidate Margaret Perger. 

The event also served as an official campaign launch for Ms Perger.

AVPPEC spokeswoman Penny Hayman said her group had formed during the inititial development of the Dargues Gold Mine and the group had been on "quite a journey" ever since.

She said the proposed changes did not meet the three aspects of sustainable development, based on economic, environmental and social principles.


“This proposal involves high riskes in the areas of human and environmental health and also threatens the economic viability of current businesses and individuals,” she said.

“The simple fact is that no matter how safe the processing might be, it comes with an element of risk – no processing, no associated risk.”

Ms Hayman said the affected communities of Majors Creek, Jembaicumbene, Araluen, Braidwood and Moruya could not trust the NSW Planning Department to help.

“We appeal to the candidates in this election, to everyone who voters: do not let this proposal sneak through as a modification with limited appeals to the Department’s decisions,” she said.

“Say protect real jobs, not promised ones, protect the water that links us all. No cyanide, no modification, but a proper DA with independent reviews.”

Co-organiser of the protest Sheila Monahan said the protest was just the beginning.

She said while the event featured speakers from the Greens, it was a community-wide issue.

“It wasn’t to be biased – it was to get all the parties together,” she said.

“We’re urging everyone to get in contact with their sitting MPs and all the candidates to raise their awareness of it.”


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