Why stop a freight train?
A letter submitted to the Northern Star
9 March 2007


Twenty tonne containers of sodium cyanide on the rail heading south from Gladstone, 18 July 2006. Tens of thousands of tonnes of secret cyanide is rail freighted each year down the trunk lines from Gladstone to Brisbane, Brisbane to Sydney, Sydney across the Blue Mountains to supply gold mines in western NSW, WA and NT.

Answer: to stop the cyanide.

Campaigning to close the Timbarra gold mine opened my eyes to the hazard created by the transport of bulk cyanide for the gold mining industry.

The more I learned the more appalled I became by the lies, deceits and cover ups of the mining corporations and the courtier governments that do and permit what ever their whim.

The scale of the toxicity of modern gold mining is so vast that it is difficult for first time hearers to grasp. Gold miners cart poisons, dig pits and poison water on huge scale.

The foreign owned gold mine at Lake Cowal, for example, will consumes 6,090 tonnes of cyanide a year for the next 12 years and poison annually the equivalent of the domestic water use of Lismore, Ballina, Byron Bay and districts.

The NSW government granted Barrick licenses to pump this water, 10 megalitres a day for free from an aquifer known as the Bland Paleochannel, ancient and drinkable water which had previously been embargoed for further rural use.

Turns out there was insufficient water there for the mine's needs and after six months operation the bore level dropped from 30 meters to 50 meters.

To keep operating Barrick brought up irrigation licenses from district farmers and now they pump from the Lachlan River and permanently poison its waters.

This is Murray Darling water. Where are you when we need you, Mr Turnbull?

I say the gold miners, the people that supply them and the governments that support them are criminals. Cyanide criminals. And that their crimes are against the Earth and future generations.

The cyanide for Lake Cowal and most of the other 50 odd gold mines in western NSW, SA, NT and WA, is made by the Orica corporation in Gladstone and passes through the Richmond valley by rail.

Last year the Cyanide Watch campaign tried to get the NSW Government to reveal exactly how much cyanide it had approved for freight through NSW; just exactly how safe it was,and what emergency procedures were in place in the event of a spill.

We also wanted to know exactly who amongst local people benefits from bearing this risk to the regions water ways.

Cyanide spills. That cyanide which fell off a road train 130 km north of Tennant Creek a couple of weeks back had passed through Kyogle and Casino. The accident could have happened anywhere along the line.

But whether or not it spills in transport, for certain it is bound to poison water. Maybe more than 30,000 tonnes a year is passing by on decaying rail infrastructure, an accident waiting to happen.

So far the NSW Government has refused to reveal the deals done with the cyanide criminals.

So the next step for Cyanide Watch is to notch up the pressure by finding out directly.

We, who would indict the cyanide criminals, intend to start stopping the freight trains and demanding the information from the loco drivers.

This is called taking local responsibility for local water and for future generations whose health will depend on it. Within the next fortnight. Watch the news.

Now is the time for the eco-warriors.

If you want to learn more go to www.peacbus.com/CyanideWatch

If you want stand truly by us in the defence of this region's water, call me direct on 0407 951 688.

For the Earth!

Graeme Dunstan
Cyanide Watch

Peacebus.com at Sandy beach, near Woolgoolga NSW, 7 September 2006

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