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Drague's Reef Expansion

To The Department of Planning and Control

To the Federal Minister Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities:

To NSW Premier Christina Keneally

Dear Sir, (or Madam for Christina Keneally),

Re the Submission on the proposed Dargues Reef Mine, Majors Creek, NSW
Reference: 10_0054

Given Cortona's recent quarterly report stating that the development will be three times larger than that described in the EA, and that material from several areas beyond Major's Creek will be processed at the Major's Creek site, I ask that the present EA be regarded as invalid, and that a new EA be required, which includes the entire proposed development

Development by stealth should not be permitted. I ask that the full scope of the proposed development be assessed, not the existing small portion. .

Yours faithfully,

Older information from JackieÔÇÖs previous email.

Please pass on if you can!

The Dargue's Reef Mine proposal has been referred to the Federal minister for the Environment- see attachment. The public has only ten days to comment from the date it has been posted on the web. (It's not on the web yet, but probably will be posted there next week, ie the week beginning 28 November.

As I understand it, once the mining company has responded the public will have another ten days to comment.

The Federal Government has a duty under international agreements to protect threatened, endangered and critically endangered species. The mining company will need to show that there operations will either have no effect on the species immediately below the mine, or that they have taken steps to protect them. Note: none of these species were mentioned in their Environmental Assessment.

Please- if you have any knowledge, interest or expertise in the area, could you urgently add your comments when the matter is posted on the web site?

The species concerned are listed below. (There are many other endangered species in the area, but they are not yet listed by the Federal Government).

Major concerns might be:

. Cortona plan to mix soil from the mine with concrete to fill the areas that have been mined. This will have a dramatic and devastating effect on the aquifer- concrete is strongly alkaline and most native species need slightly acidic conditions. In tests here even 2 square metres concrete paving affects native plants 50 metres away.

. Cortona plan to use the chemical Xanthate to process the ore. Any release of Xanthate into the water system or aquifer could also be devastating.

. Cortona have publicly stated that they plan to mine three times the amount stated under this present proposal, and that all material from their new sites will be processed at the Dargue's reef site, 1.5 km upstream from the Major's Creek National Park Reserve. I strongly urge that ALL existing plans for mining and processing need to be assessed at this stage, rather than have a the far smaller development approved and the other developments approved piecemeal, as mere additions to an already approved development.

. Breeding sites of powerful owls and gang gangs have already been disrupted by trials at Dargue's Reef. For the first time in 36 years powerful owls appear to have failed to nest in the Major's Creek National Park Reserve gorge, almost certainly because of vibration and explosions.

. Cortona have done no survey of endangered flora and fauna, nor any investigation into their ecology or breeding patterns. without this no assurances can be given that there will be no threat.

. The Dargue's reef Mine is only 1.7 km away from the precipitous descent into the Major's Creek gorge. If the 800,000 cubic metre tailings dam leaks or even gives way, the species in the gorge will be destroyed by a mix of heavy metal and Xanthate contaminated waste. Given the sheer amount of tailings,and the narrow confines of the gorge, any spill is likely to be forced upwards between the cliffs. the tailings dam will be 25 metres high. Tailings released into the gorge might rise 75-100 metres high in the narrow confined space.

Note: all processing from the additional sites where Cortona is prosing to mine will be processed at the Dargue's reef site, according to Cortona's most recent bulletin. This is a far larger development than the present proposal allows for.

. the existing proposal is for a mine 500 metres deep ie half a kilometre. this will take it to 135 metres below the Major's Creek national park Reserve and the Major's Creek gorge. No adequate study or test has been made to see how this will affect the aquifer. only two test bores have been dug downstream of the mine. Cortoina's assertion that there will be no effect on the aquifer downstream and that there is very little transmission through the granite soils and bedrock are based on test bores predominantly uphill from the site.

.Cortona assert that the rock in the area is granite. There are however several intrusions of other rock in the areas downstream in the areas where the most endangered species exist. No tests have been done on their permeability.

The Federally listed species that exist in the area immediately below the mine site are listed here. Please- if you can help at all, add your comment to the web site. If you know of any other endangered species directly below the proposed mine, please make them known to the department. Due to the inaccessibility of much of the gorge it contains possibly more rare species than any other similar site in Austrlia. At the very least, there are rare orchid, bat and insect species that I am not competent to list. All the very best, Jackie French

Federally listed animals within four kilometres downstream of the mine site include:

New Holland mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae)
Status: vulnerable

Zieria adenophera (Araluen Zieria)
Status: endangered

Button Wrinklewort (Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides)
Status: endangered

Araluen Gum (Eucalyptus kartzoffiana)
Status: vulnerable

Grey Deua Pomaderris (Pomaderris gilmourii var. cana)
Status: vulnerable

Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)

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