Sunday, May 29, 2011

Arkaroola 'isn't iconic' - Marathon

 'potential consequences of seeking a balance' - click to see the full-sized image on fickr

Newly disclosed documents reveal that controversial mining company Marathon Resources told the state government that the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is 'legally' only 'a pastoral lease', and that the SA Tourism Hall of Fame listed Eco-Tourism venture isn't 'iconic' -

Marathon considers, however, that the frequent description of Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary (legally a pastoral lease) as 'iconic' is wrong or misleading.

This comes from Marathon's own submission on the state government's 'Seeking a Balance' mining access plan for the area, which the company refused to make public at the time and has only recently come to light under FOI .

The company also claimed that Seeking a Balance would risk 'energising anti-mining groups' and increase 'concessions to minority groups'. [See the bizarre chart above!]

Recent Sunday Mail polling has shown 72% of South Australians opposed to a mine in Arkaroola, in line with submissions on 'Seeking a Balance' which overwhelmingly opposed mining, with only 10% being in favour.

I think we can safely identify the true minority in danger of being conceded to here!

Marathon's submission really is quite extraordinary, and I'm not at all surprised that they didn't want it publicly released.

The 'it's nothing special' pettiness directed at Arkaroola itself is remarkable enough, but this is compounded by further insulting accusations, such as page 8's assertions that the Sanctuary must be either 'underwritten by Government hand outs' or have the mining industry 'supplement tourist activities.' Let's get this straight; here's a player in the mining industry complaining about 'government handouts' to the tourism industry?! You couldn't make it up!...

And on page 24 we get more of Marathon's opining on Arkaroola's viability as a business, this time based on anecdotes regarding the seasonality of local tourism taken from a book sanctuary founder Reg Sprigg wrote - in 1984! Last time I checked that was more than a quarter of a century ago...

But they've already quoted Reg on page 16 in order to bolster their case for, what, open-cut mining?! From - wait for it - 1973!

I could go on. But what's the point?

I will just point out that on the same page as the Reg Sprigg cherry-pick last cited Marathon accuses Seeking a Balance of possessing 'questionable methodological validity'. This is pretty ironic - certainly not iconic - coming from the people who have produced the chart posted at the top of this article!

Their second-highest 'perceived risk' is the dire threat of a 'confidence boost - anti-mining groups will be energised'!

How about the risks of environmentalists being enervated after having to spend years struggling against something as palpably absurd as a major mine in the heart of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, despite the state government and mining industry's incessant 'we're green and responsible' rhetoric? The two combined have certainly succeeded in making this one angry!

Then there's the next-highest risk - that this kind of plan might be 'replicated in other regions'. Yes, imagine the dire state of the world if The Breakaways or the Gawler Ranges were to be afforded anything approaching adequate protection from the mining industry!

(And please note the qualifier lower right of the chart - 'direction and magnitude of impacts are approximate'. They're not kidding!)

Seeking a Balance certainly was a deeply-unsatisfactory document - it's no surprise that the state government has let it quietly die - and if you want to read some real scientific commentary on it's myriad flaws you could start with the South Australian Museum's submission on it!

But you probably won't learn much from this 107 page document that veers between the tediously repetitive and the outlandish!



  1. Horst Weber, Munich and Dublin, EuropeMay 29, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    G'Day from the Northern Hemisphere.

    I genuinely recommend that everyone reads the SA Museum submission. In a polite manner it lists flaws, assumptions, biases, mistakes of "Seeking a balance" by DEH and PIRSA. Nobody can really ignore the facts and questions put forward by the SA Museum. And, whoever decides to ignore them, regardless of their strength, must be confronted with questions as to his/her motivation/interest/...!

  2. For some reason I thought of this when I saw that graphic



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!