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Palerang Council’s submission on Dargues Reef Gold Mine, Majors Creek, November 4 Council meeting

Big Island Mining Pty Ltd has lodged a major project application and environmental assessment (EA) under part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for the extraction of up to 354 000t of ore per year from an underground gold mine, together with construction and operation of associated infrastructure, including a temporary waste rock emplacement, run-of-mine pad, processing plant, tailings storage facility, site access road and ancillary infrastructure. The EA was publicly notified from 29 September to 1 November 2010. This report presents a submission on the project. Council has been given an extension to 5 November 2010 to lodge the submission.

Palerang Council considered its submission on the mine at its November ordinary meeting held in the National Theatre, Braidwood on Thursday November 4.

Councillors Moore, Turley and Cockram declared that it may be perceived that they had a conflict of interest as they were part of a group (Braidwood Greens) that had lodged a submission, but as they had not written the submission, nor were they office-bearers, they were comfortable about being able to take part in deliberations.

No councillor with share-holdings declared a conflict of interest. 

from the unconfirmed minutes:

Council moved into open committee of the Whole at 3.23 pm.
Moore/Goonan
Unanimous

Recommendation
Recommended that Council lodge the submission provided within this report with the NSW Department of Planning.

Moved that conditions of consent, points 1 to 12, (see Part 2 of the business papers) be accepted as written.

Cockram/Crozier
Unanimous

Moved that condition 13 be amended to read:
13. Hours of operation (for above surface processing) will be 6.30 am to 6.30 pm Monday to Friday and 6.30 am to 12.30 pm on Saturday and no work on Sundays for the first full year of operation, to allow for real data to be used to determine the noise levels, dust and lighting interference that may occur, affecting the residents of Majors Creek and that the hours be reviewed at the end of this period.

Moore/Cockram
For: Cockram, Crozier, Goonan, Moore, Turley
Against: Raynolds

Moved that conditions 14 to 21 be accepted as written.

Cockram/Crozier
Unanimous

Moved that the following points be provided to staff to be incorporated in the submission in the appropriate manner.

No approval should be given until:

* test bores have been established from 2-8 kilometres downstream of the mine to determine the effect on the Araluen Valley orchards and the Major’s Creek National Park Nature Reserve water table, and an independent assessment has been made;
* an independent study has been done of the threatened, endangered and critically endangered flora and fauna within four square kilometres downstream of the mine site;
* plans have been developed for a second tailings dam wall below the first, according to standard world’s best practice.

If the mine is approved:

That, in the event that the mine is approved, the company be required to:

* provide a second tailings dam wall in case the first fails, and a plastic lining in the entire tailings area, in addition to clay;
* establish a series of test bores in the region six kilometres below the mine site, and before mining takes place, assess the normal groundwater fluctuations over a period of a year;
* collect all data from the test bores while all mining operations are in place, and make them available to all interested parties;
* fund the employment of an independent hydrologist to assess the ground water reading. If, in the opinion of the hydrologist, mining operations are causing a decrease in groundwater below the mine, then those operations will cease and a remediation plan will be put into effect in consultation with the relevant government departments and all landowners affected;
* maximise rainfall capture on site by ensuring that all roofs over mine facilities such as the tailings stockpile etc and other buildings owned by the company are connected to tanks;
* ensure that all water returned to the Major’s Creek and Araluen aquifers from the Dargues Reef Mine is tested on a daily basis and that all information about water quality and pollution be made available to all who have made submissions to the EA. If these levels are shown to be higher than the levels in the EA, all work should cease until the relevant NSW and Commonwealth Departments can assure the community that the water is safe for residents to drink, wash in, use on the orchards and market gardens, and for the continued health and survival of the animals and plants downstream;
* ensure that an adequate bond be set aside to compensate landowners and all those with a commercial interest in the area below the Dargues Reef mine. This will need to cover not just the an estimated $AUD3 million per annum income already generated in the Araluen Valley, but other personal and financial loss, including loss of value of properties and businesses.

Further,
if whichever company mining at Dargue’s Reef goes into liquidation before rehabilitation and compensation can occur, and if the cost of compensation and rehabilitation is more than the bond originally entered into by the company at the Department of Planning’s request, the NSW Government and any other body which has responsibility for approving the development accept full responsibility for such compensation and rehabilitation necessary to mitigate any negative effects of the proposed Dargue’s Reef Mine.

Moore/Cockram
Unanimous

Moved that Council expresses its concern about the adverse implications of this mine if it goes ahead and ask that the State impose conditions that are as rigorous as necessary.

Moore/Turley
Unanimous

……………………………………………………………………………………..

Over to you, State and Federal Governments…

One Response to “Palerang Council’s submission on Dargues Reef Gold Mine, Majors Creek, November 4 Council meeting”

  1. Edwin Power Says:

    I agree with the conditions laid down in the above,and would also require company to agree to employ and train at least 30% of its staff from local area,and be required to have on the spot, inspections from a public committee set up for the purpose.

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