Dargues Reef Gold Mine Proposal - Majors Creek Update

Eurobodalla negotiates more terms over Dargues Reef

Gold Bars & Money
Event Date: 
11 Jan 2012

In agreements reached by orders of consent at the Land & Environment Court, Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) and Cortona Resources have agreed to further terms over the Dargues Reef gold mine proposal at Majors Creek, and ESC has withdrawn its appeal against the State government approval for the project. The appeal was to be heard on February 1st, along with appeals through the Environmental Defenders Office from Coastwatchers Association and SERCA (South East Region Conservation Alliance.)

The gold mine sits at the top of the Moruya River catchment and ESC General Manager Paul Anderson said council raised concerns about the mine’s potential impact on Moruya River’s water quality and engaged GHD, a firm of environmental engineers with expertise in groundwater, mining processes and tailings dam design, to provide expert advice about this important community issue.

Mr Anderson said that Cortona Resources were responsive to Council’s requests which included additional proactive monitoring, key changes to the design of the tailings dam to improve performance in extreme weather events, the ability to have input into the Water Management Plan for the operation, inclusion of a Council representative on the Dargues Reef Community Consultation Committee and funding of an independent person to review the mine’s annual reporting, including allowing access to the mine site by the independent person.

“Council will also be named in the company’s public liability insurance policy as an additional safeguard for the Eurobodalla in the unlikely event that an unforeseen risk materialises,” Mr Anderson said.

“Our expert was able get access to detailed rock sampling data not previously available to us. This has confirmed the rock types and the low risks associated with the particular mine operation covered by the current approval” said Mr Anderson.

Cortona Resources Managing Director Peter van der Borgh thanked the Council for its co-operation in reaching a settlement and noted that the Council acknowledged the responsible approach to environmental protection Cortona has undertaken.

Mr van der Borgh said “The Council accepted that acid-generating materials will be captured and exported from the site for further processing rather than going to the tailings dam, and waste rock backfilled in the mine voids is unlikely to contain significant acid-bearing minerals. Council also acknowledged that the negligible quantities of reagents used are biodegradable, and that aquifers are unlikely to be interconnected.”

Mr van der Borgh called on the Coastwatchers Association and South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA) to likewise meet the company’s representatives to have a similar open dialogue so that any concerns that remain can be addressed.

Mine life is expected to be for 7 years and 355,000 tonnes of gold ore will be extracted and processed a year.

The first meeting of the Dargues Reef Community Consultation Committee took place on 12th December with representatives including Bill Waterhouse, Belinda Royds, various Cortona staff, Peter Gordon, the independent chairman, Cath Harrison, Jackie French, David Lever, Christine Wright, Cr Pete Harrison from Palerang council, along with reps from Araluen, Braidwood and Eurobodalla councils.

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Majors Creek, near Braidwood NSW (Araleun Goldfields)
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