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01/12 - Letters to the Editor (WA Today)

Cyanide by stealth

  Please do not allow cyanide processing of ore that contains lead, cadmium, zinc and gold at Dargues Mine at Majors Creek, NSW, nor allow a smelter to be built, threatening the village of Majors Creek, local businesses, the creek that is the headwaters of the Eurobodalla South Coast water system, and our children.

Unity Mining had five pollution incidents at Dargues in the six months they operated, as well as a collapse of their initial workings. The site is on steep land, overlooking Majors Creek township and the thriving orchards and other businesses of the Araluen valley, which bring in more economic benefit than the proposed mine and smelter. Spring Creek on the Dargues site is the headwaters of the Eurobodalla water system for much of the NSW South Coast.

Virginia and Robin Wallace-Crabbe,   Braidwood, NSW

  While the federal Minister for Defence might not trust a submarine builder to build a canoe, who would trust Unity Mining at the Dargues Reef mine at Majors Creek to build a sandpit for the local kindy? 

Six major spills or mistakes in just six  months of operation, affecting or threatening watercourses, farms and residents downstream as well as the water supply for a whole shire down on the coast and they are asking us to trust them. Unity Mining is now proposing onsite processing of ore, using   environmental crowd-pleaser cyanide to release lead and arsenic along with gold from the crushed ore. So, when the mine boss was filmed during the start of the (ahem) "community consultation" process promising no cyanide, was he just making a Howard "non-core promise"? To propose the introduction of cyanide processing through amendments to existing non-cyanide conditions is an insult and an absurdity. 

A full environmental and social impact study is required before the matter is  considered. If that doesn't put it to bed, then the  Non-violent Direct Action campaign that will follow approval (should it be given) will. The mine only got to this stage because it didn't directly threaten the lives and livelihoods of locals and  downstream and downwind users of the water and the land, and the miner convinced the inquiry that it wouldn't (even if the local community had deep and justified reservations). It is now threatening us with death by a thousand cuts: a changed condition here, and amendment there, a clean-up here, an apology there ... reject Unity Mining's "cyanide by stealth".

Will Douglas, Moruya, NSW

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