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Deputy Premier rejects CVC’s opposition to mining

Geoff Helisma

The NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has rejected Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) plea to impose a moratorium on mining in the Clarence Valley’s river catchment.

At the November CVC meeting councillors voted 6 to 1 to “to oppose mining in the Clarence River catchment and to seek the support of both state and federal governments to impose a moratorium on further mining exploration licences and to cancel existing licences”.

Councillors Simmons, Clancy, Ellem, Lysaught, Toms and Novak supported the decision, Cr Baker was opposed, councillors Williamson and Kingsley were absent.

Mr Barilaro did not specifically acknowledge or refer to a “moratorium on further mining exploration” or the cancellation of existing licences in his letter to CVC’s mayor, Jim Simmons.

Mr Barilaro wrote that CVC’s letter to the Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean had been referred to him, “as the issues raised fall within my area of responsibility”.

“I understand the council’s concerns about increasing mineral exploration and the potential impacts any future mining could have on the Clarence Valley catchment,” Mr Barilaro wrote.

“As set out in the NSW Minerals Strategy, the NSW Government supports growth of our minerals industry, particularly metals with high technology applications like copper and cobalt.

“The strategy includes actions to ensure this growth occurs in a sustainable and responsible way, supported by efficient and effective best practice regulation and improved communication and engagement.”

The rest of Mr Barialaro’s letter outlined the NSW Government’s mining regulations and signed off with: “Thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to the NSW Government’s attention.”

Note: Mr Barilaro’s letter was tabled at yesterday’s CVC meeting, Tuesday March 23, prior to the Independent’s deadline. A further report will be published next week if councillors discuss the matter.