Wiradjuri Elder exposes mine pit collapse at Lake Cowal
Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville 'Chappy' Williams, has exposed a
massive collapse at Barrick’s Cowal Gold Project in Lake Cowal, 45 km
north-west of West Wyalong, central western NSW.
After a flight with Friends of the Earth Australia yesterday Williams
stated, “ It is hard to bear the pain of the destruction of our sacred
site. Barrick has ignored our demands to protect cultural objects and
the ecological significance of the lake.”
Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake lying in the Lachlan River plain within
the Murray-Darling Basin.
“We are deeply concerned about the mine’s impact on local Aboriginal
and farming communities particularly the mines massive consumption of
water”, says Natalie Lowrey, National Liaison Officer, Friends of the
Earth Australia. “The pit wall collapse also creates a major concern
for workers at the mine site.”
Wiradjuri and their supporters will be converging at Lake
Cowal to voice their opposition to the mine over the Easter weekend.
Background info on Barrick's mine at Lake Cowal:
Barrick’s bore water licences allow it to take up to 17 million
litres of water per day drought stricken central western NSW
In October 2006 a 30-metre groundwater level drop had up to 80
landholders anxiously watching their livestock and domestic supplies.
Since 2001, Wiradjuri Tradtional Owners, represented by Neville
'Chappy' Williams, have been in legal battle in
the Federal and NSW Land and Environment Courts against Barrick's Cowal
Wiradjuri cultural items and places have been damaged or destroyed
including tens of thousands of stone arterfacts, ancient ceremonial
areas, marked trees, and traditional camp and toll-making sites.
Barrick has reportedly collected more than 10,000 artifacts from the
mine area, but has refused to release details.
Leaching gold from the ore requires 6,000 metric tons of cyanide per
year and the use of other hazardous materials.
Cyanide is transported 1600 kilometres from Orica in Gladstone,
Queensland to Lake Cowal. Trains and trucks carry the cyanide to Lake
Cowal over 20 rivers, through ten national parks and past 200 towns.
Save Lake Cowal campaign
Global Solidarity Campaign against Barrick Gold