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Lock the gates

July 23rd, 2022Lock the gates

A CAMPAIGN is under way to stop gold mining in Yandoit, within what is said to be among the hottest exploration areas in the world.

A CAMPAIGN is under way to stop gold mining in Yandoit, within what is said to be among the hottest exploration areas in the world.
Debra Waters, whose family has lived in the area for 30 years, is organising objections to the planned mine, which she sees as a danger to the environment.
Lock the Gate signs produced by the Alliance For Responsible Mining Regulations and calling for the shutting out of mining companies are being distributed. About 20 people were at a recent community meeting, she said.
Already, however, she has been unable to extend the deadline for objections to the mine. She also wanted wider advertising of the plans, which she says is required by law. “This affects Daylesford and the Wombat State Forest,” she said.
The deadline decision was made by the State Government’s Morwell-based Earth Resources Regulator, which sits under the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.
Its acting manager for licensing, Jess Stephenson, told Debra that the company had met all legal requirements, while adding: “Any comments and objections that are received will be taken into consideration when the assessment and decision to grant or refuse the licence is being considered.” The Local has sighted the email.
Debra, whose work is e-commerce and building websites, said because the application was not advertised locally, it was difficult for residents to track it. It was advertised in the Ballarat and Bendigo daily papers and the state-wide Weekly Times.
“It is supposed to be advertised in local papers in the affected area,” she said.
Objectors had three weeks in which to lodge their opposition.
She said that new mining released big amounts of arsenic and other heavy metals into the environment. “Some mining projects disturb legacy mining areas and carry the risk that mercury from historic processing operations will be released into the environment. These heavy metals are carcinogenic.”
Debra said a 2020 Victorian Auditor General’s Office found some mining companies do not rehabilitate their projects and that the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions had become a passive observer to these failures.
The report said: “Systemic regulatory failures encompass: using outdated cost estimates; not periodically reviewing bonds for their sufficiency – including a four-year bond review ‘moratorium’ for which there is no documentary evidence that it was duly authorised; failure to assure that site rehabilitation had actually occurred before returning bonds; approving inadequately specified rehabilitation plans; and lack of enforcement activities.
“DJPR is not effectively regulating operators’ compliance with their rehabilitation responsibilities. This exposes the state to significant financial risk because some sites have been poorly rehabilitated or not treated at all. If not addressed, these sites also present risks to Victorians and the environment.”
Canadian-based miner Nubian Resources recently announced success of its drilling at Yandoit. More than 2700 soil samples were taken, finding “dozens of new prospect areas”.
Gold was located in more than half of the holes, said company president and CEO Martin Walter. This “helped us to formulate a strategy for future discovery at Yandoit”.
To him it is one of the world’s premier gold districts, especially because of the richness of the state’s biggest gold producer at Fosterville near Bendigo. With gold hitting record prices of $US2000 an ounce, Yandoit was found to have veins about 50 metres apart and the company believes less than 5 per cent of the prospective length of the vein has been drill-tested.
The company says soil tests show “dozens of potentially gold bearing locations”.
Gold was first unearthed at Yandoit in 1854.

Above, from left, Jessica Bleachmore, Alison King, Luke Bryant, Sandra Polousi, Di Waters, Kath Mcmicken, Kevin Waters

Words: Kevin Childs | Images: David White



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