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19/08 - Councils let down by ‘expert’ report says Unity Mining

Following the release of the consultants report into the modifications proposed for the Dargues Gold Mine at Majors Creek, which was commissioned by Palerang and Eurobodalla Shire councils, Unity Mining released the following statement this morning. 
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"Unity Mining has suggested that the GHD draft report analysing the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Dargues Gold Mine is so biased that it should be ignored by both the Palerang and Eurobodalla Councils."

Andrew McIlwain, CEO of Unity Mining said he’d never seen a report like it before.

“I’m lost for words. The report misrepresents the facts to such as degree that it is laughable. This isn’t science – this is scaremongering,” said Mr McIlwain.

Mr McIlwain said the author seemed to be attempting to play on community fears.

“For instance, he estimates the amount of various heavy metals in the tailings in a way which sounds alarmist. Three hundred kilos of mercury sounds terrible. What he omits to mention is that its 300 kilos in over 1.2 billion kilos of rock material. And many of those metals, like mercury, are trapped in the structure of the rock minerals,” said Mr McIlwain.

Mitchell Bland, Principal Environmental Consultant with Geological and Environmental consultants RW Corkery, helped prepare the EA.

“I have briefly reviewed Dr Beck’s report and note that there are a number of criticisms which we will review once the report is finalised and submitted.

“I do note however, that the language used by Dr Beck is somewhat sensationalist and that a range of statements contain errors of fact or do not accurately reflect the proposed activities.See your ad hereAccording to Mr Bland, Dr Beck previously advised Eurobodalla Shire Council during their appeal to the original approval.[Palerang Council will be holding an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Thursday 20th August at 5pm at the National Theatre Braidwood to consider the mine modifications and hear from the community.]Palerang Council will be holding an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Thursday 20th August at 5pm at the National Theatre Braidwood to consider the mine modifications and hear from the community.

“His report at that time was similarly critical of the Project. Each of the issues raised by Dr Beck were examined by a range of experts and, following consultation between those experts and Dr Beck, that appeal was settled with the Company agreeing to a number of minor matters related to the height of a diversion bund and identifying Council on the Project’s insurance policy,” said Mr Bland.

Mr McIlwain said the report by GHD seems to lack any understanding of the approvals process, to which it seeks to inform.

“Notably GHD throughout its report criticises our Environmental Assessment for the lack of detail on matters relating to the facility’s potential operations,” said Mr McIlwain.

The accepted planning process is to provide those detailed management procedures after approval. Conditions imposed on projects by government often have drastic implications on operational procedures. It’s therefore illogical and prohibitively expensive to provide operational detail up front.

“We still have to provide operation details and can still be refused permission to progress if they’re not up to scratch.

“We were hoping for a more objective assessment,” said Mr McIlwain.

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Palerang Council will be holding an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Thursday 20th August at 5pm at the National Theatre Braidwood to consider the mine modifications and hear from the community. 

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http://www.braidwoodtimes.com.au/story/3273609/all-that-glitters/

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