Attempt to stop gold mining in Daylesford

December 7th, 2022Attempt to stop gold mining in Daylesford

A GROUP, Don’t Undermine Daylesford, or DUD, has formed to try to stop Red Rock Australasia from mining for gold under the town.

Words: Donna Kelly

A GROUP, Don’t Undermine Daylesford, or DUD, has formed to try to stop Red Rock Australasia from mining for gold under the town.
The British-owned mining company was granted an exploratory
licence for gold mining in May this year and has identified the Daylesford region as “highly prospective but well underexplored in terms of the modern exploration environment”.
The mine being looked at is the old Ajax line, under the name Blue Angel, in the western area of the town near the waste recovery centre. Areas in Yandoit and Glenlyon are also named in various reports.
DUD spokespeople Gary Lawrence and Lisa Brophy said while Red Rock may have a licence to look for gold they did not have a social licence with the community.
Ms Brophy said there were many concerns about the possibility of gold mining under the town including potential contamination of its iconic mineral water.
“If you Google Daylesford the first pages that come up are all about our mineral water and wellness. What happens if the water becomes contaminated?
“We don’t want our community tourism and destination appeal put at risk, or our economic activity from tourist businesses impacted.
“There are so many things wrong here and one of the most important stories around this is that these people are allowed to come into our environment and cause
all this angst – and for what – for whose benefit? Theirs, not ours.”
Mr Lawrence said some of his concerns included the possibility of heavy metals
being released from the bedrock and leaching out into the environment.
“We also don’t want to contemplate the impact of removing tonnes of rock to a
treatment plant somewhere. Where is that going to be?”
Mr Lawrence said the equipment needed for the exploratory drilling alone would
cause vibrations throughout the area – and would be ongoing for three to four
months. “Then we have the old DD06 issues, the worries about methane gas at the
former capped tip.”
The group met with Hepburn Shire Council last week with Ms Brophy saying
they were confident their concerns were acknowledged and that there was a better
understanding of the issues the community is facing.
Attempt to stop gold mining in Daylesford“Our meeting with council was positive. We are also more aware of the legislative
restrictions placed on councils in relation to what they can and can’t control or
influence in relation to mining licences,” Ms Brophy said.
Red Rock Australasia Community and Environmental Liaison spokesperson Kiara
Reddingius said the company held an exploration licence, not a mining licence. “We
have done no physical work so far in the area outside literature study and research.”
Asked about some of the group’s concerns including what benefit mining would
bring to the community Ms Reddingius said it was outside the scope of their licence
to educate the benefits of mineral resources to the Victorian community. However,
she added aside from both direct and indirect spending into the local and state
economy, during 2020/21, minerals sector companies directly contributed over $2.8
million to 63 separate community groups across Victoria in a wide range of areas
including health, education, environment and the arts.
Ms Reddinguis also said groundwater was protected under legislation and any risk to its health would need to be addressed in an application of a mining licence.
“Over the term of the exploration licence, comprehensive and detailed water studies will be conducted to understand the interface of the ground water and the geology.”
Ms Reddinguis said effective noise control measures significantly reduced sound levels of an operating rig, and it was a condition of their licence to ensure that noise generated by exploration activities did not exceed limits set by the Environment Protection Authority and the state of Victoria.
The company had tried since July to install a small environmental weather, noise and vibrational collection station in the area to collect baseline data but neither the surrounding community or Hepburn Shire Council “have been cooperative in this proactive environmental monitoring”.
Ms Reddinguis said an exploration licence was held for a five-year term, with an option to apply to extend a further five years.
“At this stage, two to four months of low impact drilling is planned to understand the nature and extent of mineralisation below the already existing Ajax workings which extend past 200m.”

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