Letter to the editor, The Coffs Coast Advocate
I live in an idyllic little community on the Dorrigo plateau amid pristine rainforests at the head waters of the catchment area for the Clarence River (Wild Cattle Creek) as well as living and working here in Coffs as an osteopath.
Once again the spectre of mining (this time antimony) has raised its ugly head.
The old mine processed its antimony at a site in Urunga which is now a toxic dead zone. Hillgrove Antimony mine has polluted the Macleay River, which feeds Kempsey.
The mine at Wild Cattle Creek just up from us, has been bought from Anchor mines, which was an Australian-owned company, by a Chinese consortium. I've heard it claimed that China is no longer mining antimony in their own country due to the toxic pollution levels it causes. Antimony is used in plastic drinking bottles and microchip technology and is extremely harmful to the health of human and other life forms.
It is with alarm that I've learned that more than 90% of all mining leases in this country are now owned by Chinese and Indian companies.
My question is how has this been allowed to happen? Why is it that we no longer own or control our own resources and pleas for help fall on deaf ears as really serious long-term pollutants are released into our pristine waters.
What I really don't understand is the legislative process in relation to mining rights and why we, the local Australian people, seemingly have no recourse to consult or object or reject such dangerous toxic projects and why our local, state and national representatives are supporting these projects. They are clearly not in the national interest. Why has the whole country been sold from underneath us?
I understand that we need minerals and mining but it seems to me that it needs to be done responsibly with a great emphasis being put on the value of what is mined and care being taken to use these valuable products in the most responsible way, so that they can be recycled and reused to limit the amount of earth disruption that takes place when they are removed and processed.
Surely we need to change our attitude to the Earth's resources and see them as precious and finite and legislate to protect the other living creatures and ecosystems that are affected by there removal.
Source: Letters, 25/10/11, Coffs Coast Advocate