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02/11 - Court action costs jobs

Legal action against the approval of the Dargues Reef gold mine near Majors Creek has forced Cortona Resources to lay off five of its local employees.

The Eurobodalla Shire Council and environmental groups Coastwatchers and the South-East Conservation Alliance have appealed the NSW Planning Assessment Commission’s determination to approve the project, despite more than 12 months public scrutiny from the community, Government agencies and independent experts.

The five workers live in the local area, which stands to enjoy a significant economic boost when mining starts.

Cortona Managing Director Peter van der Borgh said it was frustrating and disappointing for the company to be forced to lose local employees, who had worked on the project for a year on average.

“It’s a real shame, because we were extremely close to creating five new positions which we wanted to source from the local community. Then the appeal comes along and instead of hiring more local people as planned, we have had to scale back our operations and reduce our numbers in order to fund legal fees,” Mr van der Borgh said.

He said Dargues Reef had been given the go-ahead by both the NSW and Federal Governments in September and the company had let contracts to start construction at the mine.

“Independent experts and regulators have assessed the Dargues Reef Gold Mine and consider that under the management conditions agreed to by the company it will pose no environmental threat to the water supply or water quality,” he said.

The Dargues Reef mine is expected to generate about 100 jobs during the construction phase and 80 long-term jobs. An expedited hearing on matter has been set for February 2012.

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