General News


Voices For The Earth

Time to Act on Mining

The world premiere screening of ‘Rivertree’, Dan Ross’ and Haley Talbott’s documentary showcasing the Clarence River, and the potential risk to those splendours from mining, has reinvigorated the ‘No Mines’ Clarence Valley’ campaign.

The film, tracking the pair on an epic kayak journey along the entire length of the Clarence River, attracted over a thousand people who revelled in the open-air, ocean-front experience.

The four-year campaign waged by the Clarence Catchment Alliance has united residents in their opposition to mining in the valley, confirmed by Southern Cross University’s March 2023 survey showing just 10% support.

The anti-mining campaign was strongly supported by the Clarence Valley Council in 2021 when it formally asked the State Government to place an embargo on minerals’ exploration and mining in the LGA. However, despite support from five neighbouring councils, and an 11,000-signature petition being debated in Parliament, the then Coalition Government rejected the call.

While there were small mineral deposits across the valley, mostly adjacent to the river itself, most were mined out a century ago. The region has since been dug up, drilled, radar pulsed, and subjected to endless exploratory techniques, with nothing of significance being found. Clearly, there’s little likelihood of any major “mother lodes” of undiscovered minerals waiting to be uncovered.

 Since 2019, numerous operators have come and gone.  Anchor Resources, drilled the Dorrigo Plateau for a decade before declaring bankruptcy. Castillo spent millions drilling at Cangai and Corazon, drilled to a depth of 800m at Mt Gilmore with both failing to find anything. Exploratory drilling at Drake’s Mt Carrington mine in 2022 was followed by Thomson Resources pulling up stakes and leaving.

Council’s 2022 discussion paper for its Rural Lands Strategy, makes the recommendation (#21) that it: “Lobby government to remove existing, and prohibit new, mining or exploratory licences”.

With a change of government, senior members of which openly supported the ‘no mines’ campaign while in opposition, and seemingly little to be gained from further exploration, it’s time for Council to renew its call for the ban.

John Edwards