Wednesday, May 12, 2010

seeking is unbalanced!

a view from the ridgetop tour - great mining country, do you think?

Submissions on Seeking a Balance, the state government's 'mining access' plan for the northern Flinders have been assembled and made available online. And the message could hardly be clearer.

Overwhelmingly the public do not want to see mining in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.
They also want to see the heritage values of the Flinders Ranges protected.

And virtually no-one loves 'Seeking a Balance' no matter which side of the argument they're on! Some submissions are particularly scathing - embarrassingly so for the state government, given their provenance, in several instances.

We know the following from the state government's own preliminary assessment, obtained via a Greens FOI request:

485 submissions in total

57% South Australian
23% other Australian
15% indeterminable (but probably largely Australian)
4% from overseas

86% from private citizens, 14% from companies and organizations.

On Seeking a Balance itself -

Generally there was little support for the document's proposals. However, many responses did not attempt to discuss the document or the zones proposed by it. Discussion overwhelmingly focussed on feelings towards mining in Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

The figures given for this are -

50% unspecified (it would be be interesting to see how many of these simply say 'Don't Mine Arkaroola'
39% unsupportive
10% supportive 'with refinement' (More detail required here, methinks!)
<1% supportive

for and against

On mining in Arkaroola -

Supporting further restrictions on mining 82%
Supporting reduced restrictions on mining 10%
Unclear 8%

Now, I've quickly downloaded 50 submissions where I wasn't already familiar with the contents. From this rough sample I found the following:

For 'reduced' restrictions on mining in the Arkaroola Sanctuary: the SA Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the Australian Workers Union, the Australian Uranium Association, some Mining companies, and, we can only assume, Marathon itself, but interestingly Chairman Peter Williams hasn't chosen to share his submission with us.

Supporting further restrictions - or simply outrightly opposed to - mining in Arkaroola, and frequently also in much of the rest of the Flinders also: Flinders Ranges Tourism Operators Association, (in fact many and various tourism operators), Adelaide Bushwalkers, Eco Tourism Australia, District Council of Mount Remarkable, Port Augusta City Council, academics from universities here and across the world, Rolf de Heer (Director of 'The Tracker'), the Nature Conservation Society, the Friends of Flinders Ranges National Park, North Flinders NRM, Operation Flinders, the Conservation Council, Flinders Ranges National Landscape Project Committee, Warraweena Sanctuary, the SA Tourism Industry Council, the Scientific Expedition Group, the president of the Field Geologists Club of SA, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

And let's not forget the extremely difficult to refute - and thereby politically embarrassing - submission from the SA Museum that caused a stir in the week leading up to the state election.

Even Geothermal explorers Petratherm can't see why there are any 'standard mining regulations only' access areas in the core of the Arkaroola Sanctuary!

In summary; when considering mining in Arkaroola - those who stand to gain financially from mining either specifically in Arkaroola, or from the industry more generally, might be comfortable the idea of mining the Sanctuary. (Even that's not completely sure!)

But the remainder - and this is more than 4/5ths of those who responded - love the environment of the northern Flinders as it is and wish to see it enhanced and preserved. They also strongly support existing businesses that they suggest any mining project may severely impact.

It could hardly be clearer. The state government has nowhere to go from here but to declare the Arkaroola Sanctuary off limits to the mining industry, as they should have decades ago.

I have recently spent some time in Arkaroola, and some new sets of images can be linked to from the slideshow at right. I will be posting samples form several of these shortly on this blog as 'walk through' tours of the regions in question.

the mouth of yudnamutana gorge - a great spot for a pipeline, haulage road or processing facility, do you think?


No comments:

Post a Comment

thanks for your contribution - bill - i'm genuinely sorry about having to switch on the 'moderation' process but comment spammers have really been cluttering up this journal!