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08/09 - Unity Mining abandons plans to use cyanide at Dargues Reef Gold Mine in southern NSW

Unity Mining has dropped a proposal to use cyanide at a gold mine in near Braidwood in southern New South Wales.

The company had sought approval to use the deadly chemical to process ore at the Dargues Reef Gold Mine.

But 84 per cent of the 400 public submissions to the NSW Department of Planning were opposed to the proposal.

In a statement today, the company said its board unanimously decided not to proceed with the application in light of "strong community and stakeholder objections" and the long timeframe for approvals.

Unity Mining also said its chief executive and managing director Andrew McIlwain would stand down at the end of the month.

It said non-executive chairman Clive Jones and non-executive director Ronnie Beever would also retire from the board.

Eurobodalla mayor Lindsay Brown said it was a big win for the community.

"It's people power at its most visual," Cr Brown said.

"Eurobodalla Shire Council and Palerang also had the support of the local member in Andrew Constance and also the strong support of John Barilaro, the member for Monaro, who has Palerang Council under his watch.

"So it was joining all those forces together and of course I think the company sort of realised that they were on pretty much a hiding to nothing on this one."

The Department of Planning had received submissions about the proposed changes from stakeholders such as NSW Water, the Department of Primary Industries and the Eurobodalla and Palerang councils.

Many of the submissions focused on the risk of waste chemicals leaking into surrounding water catchments.

The Environment Protection Authority submission said the "heavy metal tailings and residual cyanide at the top of a water catchment poses significant environmental and community risk that cannot be effectively mitigated."

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