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Monday, June 15, 2009

Lake Cowal - fundraising event in Canberra

Lake Cowal, is in central western NSW.It is the site of a large gold mine, owned by Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold mining company (based in Canada).Caroline Graham, Ted Smith and I, from the Rivers SOS group attended the fundraising event on behalf of the traditional owners at Lake Cowal, hosted by Neville (Chappy) Williams.
The Save Lake Cowal website, (hosted by the Rainforest Information Centre) says:
"Barrick’s gold mine at Lake Cowal encompasses approximately 26.50 square kilometres. One hundred and eight million tons of low to medium grade ore will be excavated from an open cut pit 1km wide and 325 meters deep on the lake shore and partly within the high water level of Lake Cowal. Cyanide will be usedIt is estimated that the pit Barrick will blast to retreive approximately 2.7 million ounces of gold will be comparable to the size of Uluru in the Northern Territory. The mine runs 24 hours a day all year and has a life of about 13 years.
Aerial photo taken 20 March 2008.
The pit is over 1 km wide and 300 metres deep, apparently.
It is huge. The giant trucks look like ants in the pit.
A massive earth slippage is visible on the right of the pit.
"On 27 March 2006 the mine became fully operational despite opposition from Traditional Owners within the Wiradjuri Nation, the Coalition to Protect Lake Cowal and concerned citizens around Australia. The first gold was poured at the mine in April 2006 and NSW Premier, Morris Iemma officially opened it on 29 September.

"Barrick owns eight mines in Australia.

"The company has been accused of a number of environmentally unsound practices, as well as illegal trading activities."

Here is a model of the Lake Cowal Gold Mine,
showing the huge pit, and the sludge ponds.Neville (Chappy) Williams
addressing the fundraiser event in Canberra
Ellie Gilbert, film maker, addressing the group.
There is an amazing legal battle which has been going on for years, involving the Traditional Owners (represented by Chappy Williams) and Barrick Gold, and various Federal and State instrumentalities, from the Mines Department,. and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Federal Minister for Environment, Peter Garrett.

The point of this fundraiser was two-fold: to raise funds (obviously) and to raise awareness of the parlous state of this legal battle.


mick said...

Good on you for being involved in this one too!

tilcheff said...

Hope the fundraising was successful enough, Denis. As Mick said "Good on you!"