Members of Parliament and local candidates joined with the Clarence Catchment Alliance and community members in Yamba this morning to sign a pledge that commits to ending the mineral extraction and mining exploration licences that exist in the Clarence Catchment. In the Clarence electorate there are currently 18 mineral Mining Leases, 35+ mineral Exploration Licences and 6 new exploration leases were granted by the NSW government in 2022.
The social, environment and cultural impacts of mineral extraction in the Clarence Catchment are extreme and threaten to turn the Clarence into a toxic, polluted waterway that cannot be used for recreation or agricultural use. The Timbarra Gold Mine caused major cyanide contamination in the Clarence in the 90s and tailings ponds from that mine are still a risk to the river despite the mine being shut down by community action.
Greens MP Sue Higginson and spokesperson for the environment said “Communities across NSW are raising the alarm about mineral extraction projects within water catchments and here in the Clarence, the consequences of developing mines with toxic byproducts are all too real.
“The community here worked hard to shut down the Timbarra Gold Mine after it leaked cyanide into the Clarence River but now there are more than 50 projects either operating or on the pathway to starting operations here in the Clarence.
“When mineral extraction projects are either closed by community action or finish mining, the tailings dams that are left behind are an ongoing threat to the wellbeing of the river and all the communities, wildlife and industries that rely on healthy water to function.
“Local seafood, dairy, sugar cane, livestock, crops, and tourism, and the industries that serve them, need clean water. No promise of mining jobs, which are generally few and not local, can outweigh the damage to these sectors if any one of these projects failed to contain their pollution.
“The Clarence electorate deserves genuinely sustainable investment opportunities to build employment around the spectacular natural environment. Attempts by the Nationals to cash in on short-term gain, long-term loss projects are a dangerous move for the communities and environment along the entire length of the Clarence River. We are drawing a line in the sand. It’s time to put these dangerous short term extractive industries behind us here in the Clarence Catchment.” Ms Higginson said.
For media comment contact
Dan Reid - 0421 926 233
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