Land councils have concerns over Hastings mining bid

Consultation needed: Bunyah Land Council CEO Guy Jones and Birpai Land Council CEO David Carroll expect an approach.
Consultation needed: Bunyah Land Council CEO Guy Jones and Birpai Land Council CEO David Carroll expect an approach.

The chief executives of two land councils say they’d like to be consulted about the new mining application for the Hastings.

A Western Australian company, Cazaly Resources Limited has applied to explore 75 square kilometres of land between the Camden Haven, Port Macquarie and Wauchope, citing it as potentially amenable to open pit mining for metallic minerals.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment says the application is in its early stages.

Bunyah Land Council CEO Guy Jones said his initial concerns were that the areas that this application impacts are all Birpai country.

“The application covers a considerable amount of land which is Birpai and which the Land Council covers.  There have been no approaches to this council,” he said.

Mr Jones said there had been gold mining in the past out towards Walcha, and sand extraction at Dunbogan but no open pit mining.

“My major concern is that this area which the application covers has sacred sites of cultural significance for Aboriginal people,” he said.

He said that because indigenous people have an oral tradition, the majority of sacred sites in this area are not recorded on any database.

Mr Jones said Cowarra Dam is the site of a major Aboriginal burial ground.

“The dam was built in consultation and with respect to our elders and the traditional custodians,” he added.

He said NSW was unique in having the Aboriginal Land Rights Act of 1983 and the Aboriginal Land Councils.

“There is more oversight than there is in Western Australia. There has been no approach to us whatsoever so we are not sure what stage they are at.

“A lot of alarm bells are ringing.  Why wasn’t the application in the local newspapers?” he asked.

David Carroll who is CEO of the Birpai Land Council said open pit mining near dams and water sources also rings alarm bells.

“We are not saying we are opposed to this in all forms.  We want to do what is best for the community.  We will happily open a dialogue,” he added.

“We did that with Council and other developers, but they need to open the dialogue and to come to us with respect,” said Mr Carroll.

Joint managing director of Cazaly Resources Limited, Nathan McMahon said they have yet to go on the ground, or to review all the data.

“We will follow the processes.  We haven’t even made a site visit.  We don’t know which part of the land we want to explore yet,” he said.

“We won’t go on to anybody’s ground without consulting them first.  There are processes in place so that everyone is consulted. Those processes are very regulated.  No-one has anything to fear,” added Mr McMahon.

Details of the application and its location can be found on the Division's commonground application:

 http://commonground.nsw.gov.au/