Sunday, July 18, 2010

what a croc!

south australia - areas from which mining is excluded - link to the full-sized versions on flickr

Jason Kuchel is the head of the SA Chamber of Mines and Energy, the state's peak group for the industry.

This is what he had to say last Thursday regarding there being no need, as far as his industry is concerned, to create any special conservation legislation designed to protect the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary -

"Some people would like to see blanket bans on most of South Australia and if you end up with everywhere being off limits or almost everywhere being off limits then where do we get our resources from?" he said.

"If the concern is about the environment then companies need to demonstrate that they can mine in an environmentally-sensitive fashion."

Firstly there's that tired old straw-man argument about nasty Greenies who want to lock up the whole state, leading to a situation of 'everywhere (or almost everywhere) being off limits' and no resources being extracted - frankly, this claim is as absurd as it is dreary!

Those who don't already know this need only glance at the map posted above, which shows all the areas of South Australia that are actually off-limits to the mining industry. (Dark green areas - some of the red bits are excluded from exploration but are actually existing mines!) The best - conservative - calculation I can make is that this amounts to about 7% of the state.

Complete protection for the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and surrounding ranges would not even add one tenth of one percent to that figure!

And is this really an industry hemmed in on all sides by 'no go' conservation regulations?

See for yourself. Lets add all the mining, petroleum and geothermal leases currently in existence to the map above, shall we? (I'll also pause here to remind you that the mining industry has access to more than 70% of the reserve system. They're the areas in light green you can sort-of see buried under all those leases!)

south australia - mining/petroleum/geothermal tenements + mining excluded and restricted - link to the full-sized versions on flickr

Need I say more? (For more discussion see seeking a balance - the missing maps.)

And what precisely does 'if the concern is about the environment' mean?

Concern about the environment should be the first consideration in an area like Arkaroola, and if the mining industry truly wants to be seen as ecologically responsible backing mining in this area is a bloody funny way to go about it! (If not bloody-minded!...)

Greens MLC Mark Parnell will introduce legislation to fully-protect the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary into the state's upper-house on Tuesday. It says a lot about the state of our 'democracy' that neither of the major political parties is likely to support this legislation, despite all the evidence indicating overwhelming support for Arkaroola being fully protected. You may wish to remember this in the run-up to the forthcoming federal election.

So, in honour of the occasion I've decided to bring an old friend back out of his enclosure -

crocodile tears 1 - link to the full-sized versions on flickr
crocodile tears 2 - link to the full-sized versions on flickr
crocodile tears 3 - link to the full-sized versions on flickr
crocodile tears 4 - link to the full-sized versions on flickr