Further to the recent post on Lake Cowal and Barricks Gold, Steve has written to me with some interesting information. He writes:
I was delivering 3250 letters to Peter Garrett by kayak. The letters were protesting Traveston Crossing Dam in Queensland, an abomination that would most likely send the lungfish (older than the dinosaurs and only native to that region) extinct. The journey was from Brisbane to Sydney and I had reached Newcastle. The rain was flogging down and the wind was howling but some keen bloke was erecting flags on the pier.
His name was Graeme Dunstan and he told me about Lake Cowal and the cyanide. He told me that 6000 tonnes per year is transported from Gladstone to the mine. He told me the miniscule amounts of gold extracted from each tonne of earth. But cyanide is a very efficient way of getting the gold out, it is just that it is not that flash for anything else, including life. But hey, we need industry, mines, gold, that give us jobs and an economy. Bugger anyone else who might think the Lake, the undergraound water, the natural environment, are important. Graeme and his mates are having some wins though. It seems like many people have had a gutful.
Thanks for this Steve. Appreciate it. As a North Australian, I recall back in the 1980s/90s when people turned up in Charters Towers to work over the mullock heaps with cyanide leeching to get any gold they could out of the heaps. Not that Charters Towers was new to "cyaniding". In 1899 there were 96 cyaniding plants in The Towers goldfields - so the link with gold comes from an old technology. Time we found a new and better one?