'What is a definition of a gold mine? A hole in the ground owned by a liar.' Mark Twain

April 17, 2006

This Easter weekend over 100 people converged peacefully at Lake Cowal for RAIN Corroboree in central western NSW stopping work on a massive gold mine on the edge of the lake for over 5 hours. Eight supporters for the protection of Lake Cowal were arrested.

Wiradjuri Traditional Owners, locals, environmentalists, students and supporters from as far as South Australia converged outside the gates of Canadian company, Barrick Gold bearing witness to the largest gold producers continuing desecration of a significant cultural and environmental site.

Friends of the Earth National Liason Officer, Natalie Lowrey who was at the camp said “People have gathered here in solidarity with Wiradjuri Traditional Owners who are in their fifth year battling this large mining company in the courts. Neither Wiradjuri or supporters at corroboree want to see a legacy of poisoned land in this region to be left for future generations.”

“Barrick will be transporting over 6,000 tonnes of cyanide from Gladstone, Qld, 1,600km away, through communities and waterways to Lake Cowal in NSW. Part of this transport route will see trucks transporting cyanide through densely populated areas like Parramatta and Bankstown as well as regional communities like Orange and Dubbo.”

“How long do we have to wait before a major cyanide spill hits our roads or contaminates the fragile, and ancient water systems around central western NSW? Has the NSW state government prepared the SES about such obvious disasters? Australian owned and transnational mining companies operating in Australia have been handed licenses with the consent to destroy such precious lands far to easily”

“This is a false economy that rarely takes the environmental, cultural and social impacts that are inherent in such dirty mining practices. In the case of Barrick who has nine operating mines in Australia this is an easy quick-grab profit that will be taken out of the country scarring the land, flora, fauna and people for decades to come.”

Local farmers have also not been properly consulted on the impacts of this mine. The mine drains and pumps water through properties that lay drought stricken with dying cattle and the once quiet environment is now a constant 24-hour drone of machinery. There are also concerns about the effects of dust pollution created by the mine.

The rain did come this weekend, not in flood like fashion but a definite warning to the imposing mine on this Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation.

Natalie Lowrey
National Liason Officer
0431 194 083
02 4782 1181
Natalie.lowrey@archive.foe.org.au