Saturday, 17 October 2020




October 10 2020

“North Coast local governments need to be proactive and precautionary in identifying high conservation lands and water supply catchments that should be off-limits to mining,” said North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) President, Jim Morrison. 

“Mining exploration on the Dorrigo Plateau and in the Coffs-Clarence water catchments could have serious impacts on regional water supplies. That means everyone downstream of the mines from towns, villages and farms to local industries, particularly those that depend on clean water like agriculture, horticulture, grazing and fisheries,” he said

“There are exploration projects going on right now, to determine whether open cut mines for a range of minerals are viable. These include cobalt, copper and gold.

“Hundreds of square kilometres of land in these catchments now has mining leases over it. Councils need to get active and determine which areas are critical to maintaining clear and constant water supply to north coast communities. 

“They also need to be working with aboriginal communities to assist them in identifying sites of important cultural heritage. And they need to work with local communities and government agencies to identify areas of high conservation value for biodiversity.

“We shouldn't be waiting until companies have spent millions of dollars on exploration and have an expectation that their mines will go ahead, before saying 'NOT HERE'. 

“The reality is we can't rely on the State Government to protect our natural environment. There are too many examples from across NSW where they have allowed mining projects to go ahead in critical water catchments, like the coal mines that have cracked river beds in the Sydney water catchment, and in ecologically sensitive areas like the Leard forest which is being cleared for a mine.

“Local government and community will need to work together to defend the environment we all depend on, or it will be degraded and destroyed. 

“We're calling on the Clarence Valley and Coffs Council to start informing their ratepayers about exploration happening in those catchments,” Mr Morrison said.