- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.



Friday, 7 December 2012

Bellingen Shire Council says 'NO!" to reckless mining practices


Cr King
Greens councillor, Dominic King's motion requiring mining companies to scientifically demonstrate that the mining will be safe and that there will be no detrimental environmental effects, before mining is endorsed, was passed by Bellingen Shire Council on November 28. The motion was passed after a mayoral minute described as 'not strong enough' by Cr King, was unsuccessful.

Mayor Troy's motion is below followed by Cr King's motion. Note: There were two minor amendments to Cr King's motion.

Story in Bellingen Courier Sun

ANTIMONY MINING EXPLORATION

File/Index: Environmental Management

 
Author: Mayor Mark Troy
 
Anchor Resources Ltd is currently exploring a potential antimony resource under an
exploration licence issued by the NSW Government. If antimony mining were to proceed the proposed mine site is located on the Dorrigo Plateau within the Bellingen Shire.
 
Some residents have strong concerns with regard to any proposal to mine within the regional water supply catchment area in light of the potential impacts on the natural environment and the health and well-being of the Bellingen Shire community.
I consider it appropriate for Council to correspond with Clarence Valley Council and Coffs Harbour City Council to investigate the impact that any proposed antimony mine may have on the water quality of the catchment. This would be best achieved through further researching and costing adequate independent water quality testing within the regional water supply area to initially provide qualified baseline data for the three Local Governments areas that could be affected by potential future mining developments. The three Council’s Mayors have discussed the mining potential issue and agree the councils should adopt a common regional approach.
 
Additionally, at the recent Local Government Association annual conference member
councils resolved to write to the relevant Ministers seeking to change legislation to ensure
that any new coal seam gas and mining exploration and mining and extraction applications must be approved by means of a council development application.
Bellingen Shire Council supported the motion put forward at the conference.

MOTION (Cr Troy/Cr Scott)
 
That Council:
1. Adopt a policy position of extreme caution with regard to any proposal to mine
within the regional water supply catchment area in light of the potential impacts
on the natural environment, and the health and wellbeing of the Bellingen Shire
community.

2. Write to the Premier, the Environment Minister, the Minister for Planning and the
local and state Members of Parliament stating Council’s concerns with regard to
any proposal to mine within the regional water supply catchment area in light of
the potential impacts on the natural environment, and health and wellbeing of
the Bellingen Shire community.

3. Write to Clarence Valley Council and Coffs Harbour City Council to investigate
the impact that any proposed mining may have on the water quality of the
catchment. This would be best achieved through further researching and costing
adequate independent water quality testing within the regional water supply.
The Motion on being put was lost
FOR – Cr Harrison, Cr Scott, Cr Troy
AGAINST – Cr Carter, Cr King, Cr Klipin, Cr Manning
..................................................................................................

COAL SEAM GAS (CSG) & MINING OPERATIONS IN THE BELLINGEN
SHIRE
Author: Cr Dominic King


BACKGROUND:

As Councillors are aware, Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and Mining operations in NSW are coming under increased community scrutiny and there are intense and widespread community concerns regarding the effects CSG activities and minerals mining will have on the environment, water supply, residents’ health and on prime agriculture land.
NSW Government Regional Strategic Land Use Plan
 
This plan is yet to be finalised but in its present form there are questions to be answered
such as:
 
· The defined land holders rights. At this stage they refer to a land holders right to be
fully informed and fairly compensated, with no reference to the right to refuse access
for exploration.
 
· The definition of Strategic Regional Land. It appears that very little agricultural land
will be classified as strategic and therefore protected from future mining and
petroleum exploration.· One role of the yet to be appointed Land and Water Commissioner will be to look at invasive exploration activity on Strategic Regional Land. It appears that all of Bellingen Shire is outside the defined areas of Strategic Regional Land and therefore
remains unprotected by the Commissioner or conditions defined in the Strategic
Regional Land Use Plan.
 
· The new Land and Water Commissioner will oversee new standardised access
agreements (for Coal Seam Gas only) for landholders. The details of these
agreements are still to be finalised. There is no mention of access agreements for
minerals exploration.

· The National Party has recently released modifications to the NSW Government’s
Strategic Regional Land Use policy. We know many farmers are unhappy with the
limited modifications to this policy and desire improvements including a more
inclusive definition of ‘strategic agricultural land.’ At present farming land within the
Bellingen Shire is not protected by this policy.

Additional Information
1. To date there is no evidence of the existence of coal seam gas deposits within the
Bellingen Shire. There is no evidence of exploration for coal seam gas within the
Bellingen Shire.

2. The NSW Aboriginal Lands Council have a Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority
Application (PSPAPP 56) over all the Bellingen Shire. Details at:

http://www.minerals.nsw.gov.au/mv2web/mv2?cmd=MainMap&topic=petro#
3. We know there are current leases in the Bellingen Shire for further exploration for
Category Minerals 1, which includes gold and antimony. Details at:
www.dorrigoenvironmentwatch.org.au/
 
4. We know that Bellingen Shire is in a high rainfall area, resulting in challenges of
guaranteeing containment of run-off from mining activities, tailings dumps or any
construction aimed at containing water.
 
5. We know that past mining activity on the Dorrigo Plateau has resulted in serious and
long term contamination within the shire.
 
6. We know that CSG extraction processes have caused issues related to water
contamination in the Casino area:
 
‘Last year in July the NSW Government banned construction of CSG evaporation
ponds in response to community concerns about the danger of overflows and leakage
of toxic chemicals from these structures.
 
In response to the Casino protest, NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris
Hartcher, stated on 21 June that the government had not approved any evaporation
ponds since its July 2011 ban, and that the Metgasco pond was a "holding pond"
approved by Richmond Valley Council.
 
It is clear from the Ministers' statement … that the NSW Government intends to allow
widespread use of wastewater 'holding ponds' across NSW and the Northern
Rivers."Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition
 
In a high rainfall area all ponds, no matter what their classification or purpose are
likely to overflow and therefore are potential sources of contamination.
 
7. We know that at any time an Application for Minerals or Petroleum Exploration can be
made over any and all land within Bellingen Shire.
 
8. We know that a total of thirty five councils in New South Wales have declared a
moratorium on coal seam gas mining within their shire unless certain conditions can
be met.
 
Councils, including Kyogle and Lismore City Councils, late last year passed motions
that have imposed coal seam gas mining moratoriums on council owned lands. Most
recently, Clarence Shire Council also passed a motion stating (in part) it ‘…does not
support or endorse Coal Seam Gas activities within the Clarence Valley area and will
not alter this position until…..’(conditions set out).
 
Coffs Harbour Council recently passed a motion in relation to mining and coal seam
gas and Gosford Council passed a motion in relation to coal seam gas exploration
and mining at the first meeting of their new council.
 
BELLINGEN SHIRE COUNCIL – MINUTES - ORDINARY MEETING OF COUNCIL 28 NOVEMBER 2012
MOTION (Cr King /Cr Scott)
 
1. That whilst Bellingen Shire Council acknowledges their statutory responsibilities in
relation to planning development applications and assessment, Council as a matter of
social responsibility and in the long term sustainability interests of the environment and
the community which they represent, does not support or endorse Coal Seam Gas
activities or general mining activities within the Bellingen Shire area and will not alter
this position until such time as;
 
· There are clear land use legislation and policies enacted by the NSW Government
to responsibly guide and regulate mining industry especially Coal Seam Gas in
relation to their activities particularly the impact on and/or loss of prime agriculture
land and other environmentally sensitive issues; and
 
· It is scientifically proven and demonstrated that the impacts of the mining industry in
general, especially Coal Seam Gas Mining, will not result in any significant and
detrimental environment outcomes particularly in relation to the local environment.
 
Such scientific proof and demonstration must address the following:
 
a) Mining activities in a region of extremely high rainfall
 
b) Impacts on the health of residents
 
c) The disposal of toxic wastes
 
d) The development of infrastructure to a more than adequate standard and the
protection of current infrastructure, e.g., roads.
 
e) Other industries are protected from any damage and compensation for damage to
other industries (e.g., fishing, oyster growing and tourism) is guaranteed
 
f) The complete protection of our water supply, rivers and aquifers
 
g) The complete protection of biodiversity
 
h) The need to ensure land holders rights are strengthened to include the right to
refuse access for exploration purposes and if exploration permission is granted,
there is full restoration of land following exploration.
 
2. That the General Manager be directed to report to Council for their consideration any
development application made to Bellingen Shire Council which involves proposed
activities associated with the mining industry within the Shire and especially on Council
land.
 
3. That the State and Federal Governments be informed of Bellingen Shire Council’s
position.
 
AMENDMENT (Cr Troy/Cr Harrison)
That the matter be deferred for consideration to enable the General Manager to prepare a report to address the issues raised in the Notice of Motion.
06.002/12
 
FORSHADOWED AMENDMENT (Cr Klipin/Cr Carter)
 
1. That whilst Bellingen Shire Council acknowledges their statutory responsibilities in
relation to planning development applications and assessment, Council as a matter of
social responsibility and in the long term sustainability interests of the environment and
the community which they represent, does not support or endorse Coal Seam Gas
activities or general mining activities within the Bellingen Shire area and will not alter
this position until such time as;

· There are clear land use legislation and policies enacted by the NSW
Government to responsibly guide and regulate mining industry especially Coal
Seam Gas in relation to their activities particularly the impact on and/or loss of
prime agriculture land and other environmentally sensitive issues; and


· It is scientifically proven and demonstrated that the impacts of the mining
industry in general, especially Coal Seam Gas Mining, will not result in any
significant and detrimental environment outcomes particularly in relation to the
local environment. Such scientific proof and demonstration must address the
following:
 
i) Mining activities in a region of extremely high rainfall
 
j) Impacts on the health of residents
 
k) The disposal of toxic wastes
 
l) The development of infrastructure to a more than adequate standard and the
protection of current infrastructure, e.g., roads.
 
m) Other industries are protected from any damage and compensation for damage
to other industries (e.g., fishing, oyster growing and tourism) is guaranteed
 
n) The complete protection of our water supply, rivers and aquifers
 
o) The complete protection of biodiversity
 
p) The need to ensure landholders rights are strengthened to include the right to
refuse access for exploration purposes and if exploration permission is granted,
there is full restoration of land following exploration.
 
2. That the General Manager be directed to inform Council for their notification and
consideration where appropriate any notice or development application made to
Bellingen Shire Council which involves proposed activities associated with the
mining industry within the Shire and especially on Council land.
 
3. That Council write to Clarence Valley Council and Coffs Harbour City Council to
investigate the impact that any proposed mining may have on the water quality
of the catchment. This would be best achieved through further researching and
costing adequate water quality testing within the regional water supply.
 
4. That Council support the recent Local Government Association position for
member councils to write to the relevant Ministers seeking to change legislation
to ensure that any new coal seam gas and mining exploration and mining and
extraction applications must be approved by means of a council development
application.
 
5. That the State and Federal Governments be informed of Bellingen Shire
 
Council’s position.
The Amendment was withdrawn
The Foreshadowed Amendment then became the Amendment
 
The Amendment on being put was carried
UNANIMOUS

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