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CVC backs ‘no mines’ call

Geoff Helisma |


Clarence Valley Council (CVC) has resolved to “oppose mining in the Clarence River catchment”.

At the November 24 CVC meeting, councillors also resolved to “seek the support of both state and federal governments, to impose a moratorium on further mining exploration licences and to cancel existing licences”.

Councillor Greg Clancy moved a detailed motion in response to a recommendation put forward in a report by CVC’s general manager, Ashley Lindsay.

Mr Lindsay wrote in his report that CVC “is receiving increasing numbers of requests from various individuals and groups on its view regarding a number of mining exploration proposals in the Clarence Valley and particularly concerns about the impacts on the Clarence River system if they move to production”.

“At present Council has no official view on mining in the Clarence,” he wrote.

He recommended that CVC invite the “Department of NSW Resources and Geoscience to address Council to overview the present mining exploration licences in the Clarence Valley [and to provide] an update on the likely resources, the approval process (including EIS) and any role for Council”.

Specifically he proposed asking for an explanation as to any “likely potential of these [exploration licences] to move to full scale production, and [to] also discuss implications of any mining licence applications in the drinking water catchment”.

Mr Lindsay also proposed to invite representatives “of Corazon, Castillo, Wilson Investments Pty Ltd and Sons of Bavaria to address Council on their current activities, whether they see the potential for full scale production and, if so, what would be their environmental safe guards, the economic impacts (including jobs) and infrastructure impacts (roads)”?

Only Cr Andrew Baker opposed the decision, however, councillors Richie Williamson and Jason Kingsley were absent.

The five-point decision included acknowledgements that “the Clarence River system … one of the largest river systems in eastern Australia … is the lifeblood of our community and its health is essential to the environmental, social, cultural and economic wellbeing of our constituents”.

“The Clarence and Nymboida rivers and their tributaries support an abundant variety of natural ecosystems, many being home to endangered species, as well as being the playground for our water based lifestyle and leisure,” Cr Clancy’s motion stated.

“Our river and its surrounds hold immense spiritual and cultural importance to the local Indigenous communities, the Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung and Yaegl people, and form the common link between dreamtime stories of each nation.

“The Clarence River supports a number of essential, well established local industries also, such as timber, aquaculture, including fish, shellfish, farmed and wild caught prawn sectors, agriculture, including livestock grazing, crop production and our ever growing agri-food sectors.

“Tourism, both international and domestic, surfing, fishing, ecotourism and nature exploration sectors also influence the success of local retail and hospitality sectors and all rely on our environment’s health.

“Employment within these industries makes up a high proportion of job numbers in the local area.”

Cr Clancy’s motion acknowledged that “there [is] a number of mining exploration licences active within the Valley, including those of Castillo Copper at Cangai, Corazon on Mount Gilmore Coombadjha … the Sons of Bavaria at Ewingar and Wilson Investments near Coramba”.

“The potential for pollution of the waters of the Clarence and Nymboida river systems is high, despite likely assurances that will be given by mining companies to the contrary,” his motion stated.

“Some of the proposals include open cut [or] full mountain-top removal mining methods, which would involve the decimation of plateaus causing large amounts of sediment runoff, which could contain dangerous minerals and chemicals used in the mining process.

Finally he referred to Clarence Catchment Alliance’s petition, which has been signed by more than 10,000 people.

“Current exploratory mining and the potential for full scale mining has created great concern in the local community,” the motion stated.

The Independent asked general manager Ashley Lindsay what CVC would do next, given there was not specific action outlined regarding “seek[ing] the support of both state and federal governments, to impose a moratorium on further mining exploration licences and to cancel existing licences”.

He said: “We’ll have to make it known to … the appropriate minister”.