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11/2006 - Cyanide gold mine exploits farmers drought water, 20m water table drops to 50 m depth!?

This text from an email message from a local landholder received recently is very disturbing regarding the seriously bad decision to destroy Lake Cowal area with a cyanide leaching gold mine. The image above was in good rainfall times and sadly is a long past memory in the current drought.

More here:

Subject: Lake Cowal gold mine -- some more questions
Date: Fri, 03 Nov 2006 10:36:09 +1100

Following are some questions from ......, farmers from Young who made submissions to, and appeared at, the original Commissions of Inquiry related to the Lake Cowal gold mine proposal. ...The questions are:

(1) When were the bores [in the Bland Paleochannel north-east of Lake Cowal] last monitored?

[Chappy Williams and I took photos of three of them on Sunday 28 October.  New monitoring equipment (padlocked) looks like it
has just been installed.]

(2) What did the readings show as regards water consumption?

(3) If the mine is in breach of its allocation what penalities would be imposed? (see paqra 4.4 of the Determination of Development Application Pursuant to Section 91--

"The maximum daily extraction of water from the Bland Creek
Palaeochannel shall not exceed 15ML/day, and not to esceed 3650ML/year.

A total extraction of 30 000ML shall not be exceeded for the life of the mine, unless otherwise agreed by the Director-General, in consultation with DLWC."

Para 1.2 of the Determination states-- "If, at any time, the Director-General is aware of environmental impacts from the proposal that pose serious environmental concerns due to the failure
of existing environmental management measures to ameliorate the impacts, the Director-General may order the Applicant to cease the activities causing those impacts until those concerns have been addressed to the satisfaction of the Director-General.

"Comment from Larry Wordsworth: "It would seem that they could be in breach of their conditons of consent if they are found to be using water from the Palaeochannel in larger quantities than they have been allocated. The draw down effect is from 20 m to over 50 m and the mine is not yet in full production. I believe the mine is paying for some irrigators to have their bores lengthened to ameliorate the draw down effect of their access to stock and domestic supply."

[On Sunday 28 October 2006, Chappy and I saw and photographed pipe that had been attached to Barrick bore 2 (in the vicinity of Webster Road, north-east of the mine and across the road from the "Coo-ee" property). This pipe had been laid underground and we could see how it ran to another farmer's water tanks some distance away. We could not get the name of the property in the time we had].

(4) It has also been stated that the mine is supplying water to some
landholders who have run out of water. Is this water coming out of the mine allocation?

(5) Have investigations been [carried] out by the State Government as to why there has been such a dramatic [drop] in the water table?

(6) Just how far can it drop before the water table is considered to be at a critical level with regard to sustainabiliy?

.....It would seem that we really need some clarification in writing as to what arrangements DNR has with Barrick over water allocations. The information we have is very contradictorary.

Has DNR actually given Barrick more water allocations that they can use in addition to those allowed in the consent conditions or not? Have the consent conditions been changed?

If so, underwhat legislation/regulations?

From whom, from where and under what legislation is Barrick able to buy water from anyone else?

Shouldn't water be used for domestic, stock and food purposes before it is used for mining?

The comment in one of the media stories here would suggest that
people/companies with money are buying up/will be able to buy up water on  the water trading market and those with no economic clout will be left out as will the environment.

The whole situation is absolutely shameful and the  possible consequences re dire. How can Peter Costello believe that water trading will ensure that water ends up where it is most needed under water trading arrangements?"


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