O’Farrell Government blocks motion on antimony mining


11 November 2011

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham is shocked that the government has blocked a motion in the NSW Legislative Council that outlined the dangers of antimony mining on the Dorrigo Plateau and called for a moratorium on mining approvals until a Strategic Regional Land Use Plan for the Mid-North Coats was adopted for the region.

“It’s concerning that Barry O’Farrell does not seem to be taking the threat of antimony mining to water supplies seriously,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Nationals Duncan Gay confirmed yesterday that a Strategic Regional Land Use Plan for the Mid-North Coast was a low priority.  Their blocking of today’s motion confirms this irresponsible view.

“Mining a highly toxic substance at the top of an important river system should be rejected.”

The motion is attached.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

Wild Cattle Creek/Biesldown Antimony Mine

Mr Buckingham to move:-

1. That this house notes that:

(a) Anchor Resources Ltd have conducted scoping studies that indicate a resource of 17,500 tons of antimony have been found at both Wild Cattle Creek, near Nymboida and the Blicks River to the northwest of Dorrigo on the mid north coast of New South Wales;

(b) Anchor Resources Ltd has recently been subject to a majority takeover by the Chinese minerals company China Shandong Jinshunda Ltd which now owns over 90% of the company;

(c) Antimony is a mineral resource used for a range of high tech products such as polymers, fire retardants and electronics;

(d) Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic and the World Health Organisation has stated that oral consumption can result in “a strong irritating effect on the gastrointestinal mucosa and trigger sustained vomiting … abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and cardiac toxicity”;

(e) The Wild Cattle Creek project is located within the headwaters of the Nymboida River, which is the highest rainfall catchment in New South Wales;

(f) The majority of the municipal water supply for more than 100,000 residents in Coffs Harbour is provided by Shannon Creek Dam which is fed by pipes directly from the Nymboida River;

(g) The Nymboida also flows into the Clarence River which provides water for domestic and agricultural purposes and is part of an important fishery based around Yamba;

(h) The high rainfall of the catchment means there is a significant risk that run off containing antimony and arsenic from any mine site could contaminate the river systems.

(i) A previous antimony ore processing plant at Urunga Lagoon has been described in the Bellingen Council 2009-10 State of the Environment Report as seriously contaminated and unable to be rehabilitated; and

(j) The government has admitted that mining activities at Hillgrove have caused serious and long-term contamination of the Macleay River from the mine to the Pacific Ocean.


2. That this house calls on the Government to:


(a) Place a moratorium on mining approvals on the Dorrigo Plateau and Clarence are until the Strategic Regional Land Use Plan has been completed for this area.

(b) Consider declaring the area around Wild Cattle Creek at the headwaters of the Nymboida, an environmentally sensitive area, off-limits to mining as per the Coalition’s Strategic Regional Land Use Policy.


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