(Greens-Media) Cyanide leaks at Barrick's WA mine spur Cowal fears

Submitted by Editor on Wed, 27/10/2004 - 22:36

The developer of the Lake Cowal gold mine, Barrick Gold, is under fire over a gold mine it half-owns in Western Australia, where cyanide contamination has polluted groundwater and boosted salinity.

Hans VanLeeuwen

Media release - October 26, 2004

The Greens have warned that the damning findings of a WA Government review of the Fimiston 1 tailings dump at the Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine, a 50-50 joint venture of Barrick Gold and Newmont, sets an alarming precedent for Lake Cowal.

"Recent events in West Australia are an ominous but timely warning for the communities and pristine environment of Lake Cowal," said Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon.

"The release of this report makes it all the more urgent that both Labor and the Coalition support the Greens' bill to outlaw cyanide-based mining, which is now before Parliament.

"The people of western NSW cannot afford to run the risk of Barrick causing similar spills or contamination in this region," Ms Rhiannon said.

The WA report, released last week, found that a large area around the Kalgoorlie Super Pit's Fimiston 1 tailings dam was hit by increased salinity, heavy metal contamination, cyanide contamination and elevated cyanide levels in groundwater.

"Other miners in the vicinity are now facing contamination issues and economic losses due to the environmental impact of the Fimiston dam. Some are calling for a judicial inquiry," Ms Rhiannon said.

"Barrick's WA problems are just the latest in a string of environmental mishaps around the world caused by cyanide-based gold mining. New South Wales should act now before we end up with a disaster in our own backyard."

Hans van Leeuwen
Media Adviser
Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon
Parliament of NSW
Macquarie St, Sydney 2000
T: (61 2) 9230 3551
F: (61 2) 9230 3550
M: 0425 310 562
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