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Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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mining

Please express your views about gold-mining in the Alpine Shire

The Facebook group objecting to gold mining in the Ovens Valley has launched a survey to get Alpine Shire people’s views towards the future of gold-mining in the Alpine Shire. 

It comes as a gold exploration company has been drilling in the Havilah Valley in recent weeks.

There are many exploratory licences applicable to the upper Ovens Valley. And there are 2 applications for gold exploratory drilling waiting for approval covering areas south of Yackandandah, Wandiligong, all the upper Ovens Valley to Harrietville and a strip down the western side of Kiewa Valley near Mt Beauty. 

“We were getting clear indications many people in the Alpine Shire were not happy with the exploratory drilling and the prospect of new gold mines in the area” said Col Finnie, administrator of the group. “But we thought it was time to find out what ratepayers and residents of the Shire think, hence launching a Survey Monkey survey.”  

Continue reading “Please express your views about gold-mining in the Alpine Shire”

A new year. The old threats continue.

Well, we’re on the other side of New Year. Phew. I hope that you’re enjoying some good mountain time over summer and getting a recharge. There’s lots to do this year.

There are a range of environmental issues that have been bubbling away over the last year, and each of them have campaigns which could use some extra support if you have the time or resources. Here’s a sample of what’s going on. 

Continue reading “A new year. The old threats continue.”

No Gold Drilling for the Upper Ovens Valley

An Exploratory Licence application for gold is with the Victorian government’s Earth Resources department for the upper Ovens Valley. The deadline for objections is 23 December. The best time to stop a destructive project is before it gets going. Please add your voice to the strong community campaign against this proposal.

Governments and companies often dismiss opposition to exploration, saying that ‘any environmental issues will be considered’ if the proposal moves toward a mining application. But the more money the miner puts into the project, the more they will push through with the proposal to commercialise. The best time to stop it is before exploration starts. And if a project has no social license to operate, why approve exploration? There is strong local opposition to gold exploration in the Upper Ovens. In a time of climate change, where water flows are expected to decline over time, the river systems that rise in the Victorian Alps will become even more important for downstream communities and environments. Why would we risk such a significant river system for short term gain for a mining company?

Continue reading “No Gold Drilling for the Upper Ovens Valley”

2020. It’s been fun. Let’s move on.

Wow. What a year. Crazy summer fires. Covid lockdowns. Terrible winter snow pack, but also some incredible snow storms. Lots of fighting over our mountains, including the endless culture war argument about horses. Kind of glad it’s almost at an end.

We all know the story: a dry winter and spring led to a horror summer, with massive fires across the eastern Victorian high countrySnowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Luckily Tasmania got off easy last summer.

Then the lockdown(s), which hit mountain and valley towns in Victoria especially hard, isolated Tasmania, and closed the NSW/ Victorian border. The economic impacts of these events will last for a long time.

And then there were the ongoing arguments about how to treat our mountains. It felt like issues were widespread this year. Here’s a few of them:

Continue reading “2020. It’s been fun. Let’s move on.”

A dangerous mine in the headwaters of a major river. Please oppose this proposal.

Mining company CopperChem wants to re-open the copper zinc mine in the headwaters of the Tambo River in East Gippsland. As part of this proposal they intend to greatly expand the existing tailings dam. The company is currently seeking permission from the state government for the project to proceed. We have until April 4 to object.

Please send a submission to the Victorian government opposing the project. It will take you just a couple of minutes and will have a real impact.

Local conservation groups call for tailings dam in Tambo River catchment to be rejected

Gippsland Environment Group (GEG) recently organised a site visit to the Benambra mine tailings dam in the headwaters of the Tambo River to discuss mining company CopperChem’s proposal to re-open and massively expand the dam. The visit raised considerable alarm among all who attended. The Stockman mine has long been a controversial project and plans to re-open the operation have caused serious concerns in the community.

The following report comes from GEG:

Continue reading “Local conservation groups call for tailings dam in Tambo River catchment to be rejected”

New owner for Stockman mine announced

The Stockman Project is located in the Victorian Alps, 60 km by road north east of Omeo. The project contains two copper-zinc-lead-silver-gold rich deposits, called Wilga and Currawong. Wilga was discovered in 1978 and Currawong in 1979. Denehurst mined the copper rich core of Wilga deposit from 1992 to 1996. The mine operated by Dehnurst left behind a dangerous mess. In 2006, following $6.9 million worth of rehabilitation of the plant site and tailings dam at the taxpayers expense, the project was put out for public tender as part of an exploration incentive program. Jabiru Metals Limited (Jabiru) was awarded the project in March 2007.

After a number of attempts to re-open the mine, the Victorian treasurer has announced a ‘new multi-million dollar investment’ in the Stockman project and a new owner.

Continue reading “New owner for Stockman mine announced”

Stockman mine proposal suspended

The Stockman Mine project has been proposed for an area about 60km by road north east of Omeo. The project contains two copper-zinc-lead-silver-gold rich deposits, called Wilga and Currawong. Wilga was discovered in 1978 and Currawong in 1979. Denehurst mined the copper rich core of Wilga deposit from 1992 to 1996. In 2006, following rehabilitation of the plant site and tailings dam by the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, the project was put out for public tender as part of an exploration incentive program. Jabiru Metals Limited (Jabiru) was awarded the project in March 2007.

Continue reading “Stockman mine proposal suspended”

How much will the Stockman mine cost Victorian tax payers?

Mountain Journal has previously highlighted the potential environmental impacts of the Stockman project, which would see a major mine re-opened in the headwaters of the Tambo River.

In the following story, Scott Campbell-Smith outlines the economic cost of the previous mining operation and the risks associated with a major expansion of the mining operation.

The new minister for Energy and Resources will need to make a final decision on this project shortly.

Continue reading “How much will the Stockman mine cost Victorian tax payers?”

uranium mining in the Victorian Alps?

Now, here’s a serious blast from the past (apologies for the bad pun). While looking through some old files I found an article from 1978 from the Friends of the Earth (FoE) magazine, Chain Reaction (number 4(1), 1978) about the threat of uranium mining in the Victorian Alps.

Back in the mid 1970s, a German company called Urangesellschaft had exploration rights to a very large area of the Alps, from near Tolmie near Mansfield, right down almost as far as Bairnsdale. They had a total of almost 6,000 square kilometres of land under license and this included the Avon wilderness area and large sections of the Wonnangatta valley.

Continue reading “uranium mining in the Victorian Alps?”

Nowa Nowa mine proposal moves to approvals stage

The following update is an excert from an article in The Age, journalist is Jason Dowling.

Surge of activity could see Victoria playing mine host

nowa nowaVictoria could soon boast a new commercial iron ore mine amid a surge of mining activity.

A combination of increased mineral prices and a supportive state government is driving a rejuvenated local mining sector with hot interest in exploration licences.

This week Eastern Iron advised the stock exchange it had moved into the environmental approvals phase for a commercial iron ore mine at Nowa Nowa, 30 kilometres from Lakes Entrance.

The proposed East Gippsland iron ore mine would be in the Tara State Forest, and would include a 25-hectare open pit.

The mine would have a span of about 10 years and produce about 1 million tonnes of iron ore a year to be exported from near Eden.

Eastern Iron’s managing director, Greg De Ross, said he did not believe there were environmental reasons to prevent the mine, and said the area had already been heavily logged.

”It is certainly not pristine wilderness,” he said. ”There are no show-stoppers from an environmental perspective.”

For a background on this proposal, check here.

Nowa Nowa residents have mixed feelings about mining project

nowa nowaThe following article comes from the ABC, journalist Jenni Henderson.

Check here for a background on the project and details on the community consultation process that has been happening. Leaving aside the direct environmental impact of the project, there is the key issue of what impact a large number of large trucks on the narrow Princes Hwy will have on locals and tourists.

Residents of Nowa Nowa and surrounds are expressing mixed feelings about the prospect of the Iron Ore mine being established seven kilometres north of the town. Mining company Eastern Iron is now putting together a feasibility study for the mine and has held community information sessions in Nowa Nowa, Lakes Entrance and Orbost.

The company estimates about 200 people have attended the sessions so far, to learn more about the project.

The mine still requires environmental and planning approval from the State Government.
Neil Smith a Nowa Nowa resident says the community has been ignored in the decision making process so far.

“I’m not just talking about the mining company. The East Gippsland Shire are in the process of negotiating a memorandum of understanding but they don’t see that’s there’s any need to talk to community before they reach an agreement,” he says.

Mr Smith says he feels that there has been no opportunity for the community to reach a consensus on what they want out of the mining project.

“If it’s ten years of mining and ten years of jobs and then nothing except a big hole in the ground and some potential environmental damage then there’s no benefit,” he says.
Nowa Nowa needs the cash flow and employment opportunities a mine would bring, says Paul Oakes, president of the Nowa Nowa and District Business and Tourism Group.
“Nowa Nowa is a very small community; it just needs the funds in. It’s pretty quiet, of course the mills have all been cut right back and forestry is cutting back on the harvesting so it’s sort of shrinking, the area is shrinking really,” he says.

Mr Oakes says the business and tourism group is concerned that East Gippsland Shire Council is representing the Nowa Nowa community in signing a memorandum of understanding with the mining company.

“It’s pretty hard for us to get any services from the shire except the basic ones. We’d prefer the mine to deal directly with the development group that’s here,” he says.

Helen Shields, a Nowa Nowa resident, says the mine proposal has the potential to divide the community.

“Communities always have dreams about things they can do for their area which improve them. Of course people want work, of course people want a future for their children to stay here but nobody’s had those conversations in relation to the mine,” she says.

Ms Shields has concerns about any environmental and social impacts the mine could have on the town.

“If there is explosions happening here 24 hours a day for 10 years I don’t believe that it won’t impact on this catchment area,” she says.

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