Monday, 25 October 2010

Mining: Araluen/Major's Creek NSW: is gold worth more than wombats, owls, specific eucalypts, and Jackie French

A Desperate Message from Jackie French

Please help us, the wombats, and the valley. 
There is only one week  left to try to save them.

Two weeks ago we were finally given copies of the Environmental  Assessment into the proposed Dargues Reef Goldmine at Majors Creek,  four kilometres directly upstream from our property and even closer to  the Nature Reserve and National Park partially surrounding us. The  details revealed in it had not previously been made public. [See Major's Creek, Deua National Park, Major's Creek State Conservation Area]

The Dargues Reef Mine proposes to remove 66.2 megalitres of water per  year from the local water table, leading to a drop in ground water  levels of between 1.5 and 10.5 metres. This is an extraordinary and  devastating amount.

Plants take their moisture from groundwater. 
Without it, they die.

Animals drink from springs, fed by groundwater. 
Without it, they die.

The result of taking this amount of water from an ecosystem will mean  that it, too, will die.No studies have been done for the Environmental Assessment on how  taking this amount of water will affect the land beyond the actual  
mine site. There is no mention of the endangered, critically  endangered and threatened species in the gorge below the mine, ranging  from the Powerful Owl to the critically endangered Eucalyptus kartzoffiana.
Powerful Owl

The mine proposal also includes a 25 metre high tailings dam to just  four kilometres above us and the gorge, covering nine hectares. It  will contain a toxic sludge that, if the walls break, will sweep  everything before it, from our house to every plant and creature in  the valley. 'World's best practice' is to have a secondary wall in  case the first fails. This is not the case at the proposed Dargues  Reef mine
Eucalyptus kartzoffiana
Picture and further information including its scarce distribution
If this mines goes ahead the animals and plants of the valley may  die.  The wombat of "Diary of a Wombat" may die. As for myself- if the  bush where I have lived and loved and walked for over 30 years dies  around me, then what would be left would not be the Jackie French who had walked and studied and loved the bush community for more than 30  years.

If you have loved Diary of a Wombat; if you want to save the life and  environment of the real wombat on whom the story is based; if my  writing has moved you in any way and if you feel the need to preserve  endangered species, or an area of such rich and varied habitat please  email your opposition to the mine by close of business this Friday.I have walked this land for over 30 years. I have drawn the  inspiration for my work from the bush around me. To say I love it is  inadequate. I am part of it; without it, the person I am will cease to  be.

But I have choices. I can leave if the water turns toxic, if the  sludge descends. I can buy water and have it tanked in. The wombats,  the wallabies, the Powerful Owls - already isolated by surrounding  human farms and settlement and starting to be affected by the  environmental impacts of climate change - have no such choice. I owe
this place too much not to at least try to defend it and its inhabitants now.

If you love wombats, the bush, or justice; if you believe that  animals have a right to survival despite the benefits to humans from  mining gold; if you think that long term investment in the bush,  growing peaches or writing books is more valuable than a short term  mining gain, spend just five minutes today emailing your objection to
the Dargues Reef Mine.The Dargue's Reef Environmental Assessment can be read atwww, by following the prompts. If you would like  further details about the critically endangered species and  
grasslands, or the removal of the groundwater, please contact me at

    Please- can you help?
Or do you know anyone else who can help?
   Any submission will help save the valley, 
and it's critically  
endangered species.
If you have a spare five minutes, please send your own  submission. 
Please ask your friends to put in submissions too, by the  end of this week.
Submissions should include:
Your name and address
The reference number 10 0054
Whether you support or object to the mine proposal
The reasons why you support or object to the mine proposal

Submissions much reach the Department of Planning 
by close of 
business November 1, 2010

Fax: 9228 6466
Emailed to: plan_
Possible (draft) Submission
Reference number 10 0054
I object to the proposed Dargues Reef mining project on the grounds
that no assessment has been made of the impact on the loss of
groundwater beyond the two square kilometre radius of the mine, nor on
the fragile and threatened ecosystems below the mine.
I request more time for these and other questions raised by the
Environmental Assessment to be investigated, including test bores 2-6
kilometres downstream from the mine site, to test the impact of
drilling on the groundwater over a period of a year, to allow for
variation in rainfall.
   I also request that a detailed assessment be made of endangered,
critically endangered and threatened flora and fauna in the four
kilometres below the mine site. This also needs a year for completion,
as some species are migratory, and others, such as the endangered
powerful owl, can only be easily identified in late winter when they
are calling.
     I also request that a detailed assessment be made of heritage and
Indigenous sites 2-6 kilometres down stream from the proposed mine
site and the tailings dam.

[Name and address]

Submissions much reach the Department of Planning by close of business
November 1, 2010.
Fax: 9228 6466; or email: plan_

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