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MP Chris Gulaptis

Clarence MP backs mining exploration

The NSW Government has backed Corazon Mining Limited, granting a reimbursement of “50 per cent of per-metre drilling costs, up to a maximum of $200,000”, as part of its New Frontiers Cooperative Drilling scheme.

Corazon will drill exploration holes around Mount Gilmore (at Gordonbrook Hill 25km northwest of Grafton), “targeting ‘battery metals’ in Australia”, its ‘RIU Resurgence Conference document states.

“Early stage exploration [is at] play, major upside potential; high-grade copper and cobalt from drilling and rock chips; large surface anomalies in a new region (20km+ strike),” the document states.

However, the document’s foreword states: “This presentation … contains forecasts and forward looking statements which are not a guarantee of future performance and which involve certain risks.

“Actual results and future outcomes will in all likelihood differ from those outlined herein.

“The presentation should not be construed as an offer or invitation to subscribe or purchase securities in Corazon.

“Nor is it an inducement to make an offer or an invitation with respect to said securities.

“The company believes that it is a reasonable basis for making forward-looking statements in the announcement based on the information contained in this and previous ASX [Australian Stock Exchange] announcements.”


The Independent discussed what this might mean for the Clarence Valley with Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis.


I: What are your thoughts about mining exploration in the Clarence Valley?
CG: What I keep on reiterating is that an exploration licence is chalk and cheese compared to mining. An exploration licence is really minimally invasive and it is exactly what it says it is.

I: But it pre-empts actual mining?
CG: No, it only pre-empts it if it actually finds something, then you’ve got to go through an exhaustive process to have it approved. When you find a deposit, not everything is approved. It does have to meet the triple [test]; it’s got to [meet] social, economic and environmental [requirements].

I: Companies aren’t going to invest millions of dollars and the state government is not going to contribute up to $200,000 towards something [drilling test holes] if they don’t think it’s going to go ahead [are they]?
GC: What it is doing is contributing towards the economic conditions in our country by contributing to that exploration licence because it’s employing people in that field. At the end of the day, it’s like everything; we can close down the whole country and not have anything, because it’s going to be invasive.

I: That’s a bit extreme [isn’t it]?
GC: No it’s not; that’s exactly the problem. I get sick of people talking about climate change and what we better do to protect [the climate/environment]. The most important thing that we have to do to improve or deal with climate change is to reduce the population of the planet; that’s the most important thing. That’s the reason farmers have to clear their land, because they have to grow more food for more people; and that’s the reason we have to have forestry; they’ve got to cut down more timber so we can have timber building materials, because that timber is one of the best building materials that we’ve got. I get sick of people saying we need to do this [and that]; the most important thing we need to do is to reduce our population, because that’s not sustainable. It’s like having 20 people living in your house; it’s not sustainable.

I: While that principal [that the global population is growing to an unmanageable level is relevant]; if what you said [that exploration doesn’t necessarily lead to mining] is fully correct that means that these companies are [potentially] misleading the ASX, doesn’t it?
CG: No, they’re not misleading [the ASX], they’re looking for something and if they find something they’re going to have to demonstrate that they can actually extract it by meeting environmental guidelines – and we have strict environmental guidelines. It’s not China, it’s not Russia, you can’t do what you like here; you’ve got to go through a rigorous process and approval – I know that from a former life as a surveyor: how difficult it is to get an approval in this country.

I: And you were a developer, too, Chris?
CG: Of course I was a developer; and is that such a dirty thing?

I: No, not at all.
CG: … developing land so other people can come here to live, of course; and at the end of the day, we in the Clarence Valley are underpopulated, we do need a bit more development and we’d still be sustainable. You know, is it sustainable in the Sydney basin, when you’ve got a basin that is sort of a 100 kilometres [wide] that basically has five and half million people in there – what environment have they protected in there so they can actually, you know, live the high life and dictate to us [in the regions] how we should be living our lives?

I: [Meanwhile thousands of people have signed a petition to stop mining in the catchment, who fear] that an industry could be set up that could threaten the actual viability of the Clarence Valley; being the river – no river [means] no [sustainable] Clarence Valley.
GC: And if that does prove to be the case, then it won’t be approved. You know, you’re putting the cart before the horse. At the end of the day they [the miners] have to find something.

I: So why shouldn’t [people] object to the government giving a mining company taxpayers’ money to drill holes when there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to mine if they find something and they’ve told the stock exchange that it’s a ‘high grade’ vein [notwithstanding the disclaimer]?
GC: But that’s mining; that’s exactly what mining is.

I: You had a different view about CSG mining; what’s changed your mind?
GC: Because CSG mining was proved to be invasive and we didn’t need to have that level of mining here where it’s not a one-well case; it could be 100 wells or a 1,000 wells in order to extract the resource; whereas I don’t know what these guys [miners] are going to do.

I: But they’re raising capital…
CG: Every exploration activity is speculative – every exploration activity – but it does create opportunities and jobs and it does boost the economics of an area, because they have to buy lunch, fuel, accommodation, [etcetera]; so at the end of the day, it’s no different to pink batts or school halls; that’s the same sort of investment at the end of the day.

I: Hopefully [the NSW Government] does a better job of managing investing mining [than the Australian and NSW governments did with pink batts and school halls [respectively], because…
GC: And so do I; because at the end of the day, we need mining as much as we need timber, as much as we need farming, because we can’t survive without it. Mining is going to, basically, move us into the next generation of renewables, because they’re going to be providing us with the resources that we need to build electric cars, to build renewable technology.

I: Yes… but electric cars are only a stop-gap situation being driven by actual car manufacturers, not by governments [ours at least].
GC: At the end of the day, we’re not going to get rid of cars; I’ll tell you that now. To say it’s a ‘stop-gap measure’ is a bit of a cheap shot.

I: It’s a stop-gap measure in the same way [that the Australian Government is advocating] a new gas-powered electricity generator; it’s a step in the right direction – we don’t have the hydrogen technology developed yet; we can’t build cars to do that now, but [electric cars] are going to reduce emissions at some level, compared to [what we have now].
GC: But … at the end of the day, everything we do as humans on this planet is a stop-gap measure, because we’ve now got 7.5 or eight billion people living on the planet; so I’m not sure when the stop-gap is stopped, but there is always going to be a gap while ever we grow at the rate we are growing at the moment.

I: Of course, the irony is that under the current economic methodology in this country [and other countries] we need to have a growing population to meet that [growth] paradigm.
GC: Yes we do to a degree, but we have got to control it [population growth].

I: How do we do that? China tried and failed … what’s the answer? [Isn’t it more] about displaced people, because if you address the displaced people, then you can address the population growth?
GC: They’re displaced because there are too many of them and we don’t know where to place them.

I: They’re displaced because those countries are dysfunctional for whatever reason. So [if] the world agreed on how to control its population, there would have to be some kind of peace [established]? However, the UN’s unravelling [on managing humanity] due to powers of veto, which countries with greater powers insist on having?
GC: Peace and humanity is an oxymoron; there’s never been peace on Earth since Cain and Abel.

I: Agree, [but] … the cynicism you just expressed is widely held and it actually becomes a pejorative judgement of having those ideals [which aim for peace and preserving the environment]. However, the whole world has [broadly] adopted the growth pattern, and obviously there are different versions of classical economic theory [adopted in different countries], in any case the people on the so called ‘left’ have benefited, too?
GC: And they live in timber houses and own the very things they protest against. And hence we come back to the border closures, we’ve become very tribal, the antithesis of what [Sir Henry] Parkes, [who is known as the ‘Father of Federation] was trying to achieve for this country. In one short period of our time, we’ve gone from a commonwealth back to being six colonies; that’s pretty disappointing.

I: Sure is.