Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Boos not barracking for Barricks

In that great network of Water Worriers and Warriors to which I belong, I learn lots of stuff - not least is the geography of my own country.

In the email box to-day is a note from my friend in Picton. She had wanted me to come to the Rivers SOS gathering there at the weekend and I seriously considered it. How wonderful to see her and network with those wonderful activists. In the end, I couldn't do it. I was up to my eyeballs in environmental human rights. But here's the note:
At our Rivers SOS weekend we had the pleasure of the company of Uncle Chappy Williams, Wiradjuri elder from the Save Lake Cowal group. The Canadian mulitinational Barrick Gold is spewing cyanide into the lake, near Forbes. Chappy and co. hold a protest every Easter, last March some student supporters were arrested for invading the mine site. Thought you would be interested!
Well, I haven't rushed back to reply. Did not want to display my ignorance. Off to Google Maps and there is Lake Cowal dead bang set in the middle of New South Wales, the Premier State. And the lineup of Google searches clicked into place right behind with campaign related sites ! Thank you, Google.

Here you will find Barrick saying all the "right" things on sustainability.   Here is a wonderful parenthood quote:
The success of Barrick’s Cowal Gold Mine, located in New South Wales (NWS) [sic], Australia can be attributed to a strong sense of responsibility to the community and the environment. Upon acquiring the undeveloped Cowal project from Homestake in 2001, Barrick recognized the importance of maintaining the support of the community and investing back into the region. To address this need, the Company embarked on an extensive program of community engagement, beginning during the project’s earliest days. During this process, Barrick gained a clear understanding of the interests of the farmers and other residents located in the communities around Lake Cowal, as well as members of the Wiradjuri indigenous community.
Well, Barrick, looks to me that perhaps you haven't done a great job.  No mention of polluting, devastating cyanide here.  No mention of adverse environmental impacts.  No mention of community concerns.

Governments need to recognise that miners are not always good neighbours for human beings, other species, and other living things, and - needless to say - our precious water.  

Miss Eagle's suggestion of a CaD Code is designed to bring governments and corporates to dialogue (or should that be trialogue) with communities.  There is too little dialogical input into governance in Australia.  It's about time communities jacked up and did something about this and began work on the human right of consultation and dialogue with governments and corporations.  If governments and corporations refuse - then, they are CADs.


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