The following piece from the Colac Herald shows a new dimension to the threats already posed to agricultural country in Victoria by mining. And apart from the mineral sands proposal outlined in this article, we have coal and coal seam gas (CSG) companies staking claims for huge sections of the state. At Anglesea, Alcoa wants another 600 hectares of heritage listed heathland so it can mine dirty high sulpher coal for 50 more years.
All manner of people across the state are upset about these developments. But where are the Landscape ‘Guardians’ in all this?
On their website, they say “Our landscape is a non-renewable resource – we cannot create more of it. It is the background or setting to our lives, and helps to define and identify us as Australians”.
“The Australian landscape is a resource which we hold in trust for future generations. As its present custodians we have a responsibility to conserve and manage it wisely, protecting it from inappropriate development, so that it will enrich the lives of our children and successive generations”.
We certainly support this sentiment. But how to they demonstrate their stated commitment to protecting landcsape where it matters – in the real world?
They are strangely quiet when it comes to any issue except wind farms… Maybe it’s time they changed their name to better reflect the reality of their pre-occupations. The coal industry guardians, perhaps?
Mining application attracts concerns
Journalist: Lucinda Ormonde, June 13th 2011
AN APOLLO Bay man says he is “majorly concerned” about a mining company’s plans to explore the region for resources.
Gary Riches said he was worried about Western Australian company Iluka Resources Limited’s applications for three exploration licences around Irrewillipe.
The company hopes to explore for mineral sands, which comprise titanium minerals, zircon, monazite and xenotime, over a 150-square-kilometre area of private and crown land, about 15 kilometres south-west of Colac.
Mr Riches said he had spoken to a representative from the Department of Primary Industries about the applications and consequently was “really worried about our Otway Ranges”.
“I’m worried about these mining giants, they’re ruthless, when it comes to billions of dollars they don’t really care,” he said.
Friends of the Earth’s Cam Walker said mining from mineral sands was “problematic because you have to remove all the top soil and they say you have to rehabilitate it”.
“There’s also very high water consumption which is a really significant issue.”
Mr Walker said affected landowners should be concerned about the effect mining could have on their land.
“Obviously people are only exploring if they’re intending to mine if it’s viable,” he said.
“People should just outright object if they don’t want what is in effect an open-cut mine on their land.”
In a statement to The Colac Herald, Iluka Resources Limited said “the application is a preliminary, early stage requirement to secure a tenement holding”.
“Any follow-up activity, including exploration on the ground, would – if it occurred – normally not occur for many months after the tenement is granted,” the statement read.
Colac district people have until June 24 to make an objection to the application.