Stawell Gold Mines Cyanide Watch

Media Release 18 March 2008

The Cyanide Gift -
Stawell Gold Mines at the Crossroads

Cyanide Watch will be hosting a meeting of citizens concerned about the environmental costs of Stawell Gold Mines operation

11.30 - 1.30 pm Wednesday 19 March 2008
Observation area, Stawell Gold Mines, Reef Road, Stawell.

Stawell Gold Mines Manager, Troy Cole, said he respected the rights of citizens to express their concerns and would be available to answer questions.

"Imagine 700 Olympic swimming pools, 50m long by 20m wide and 1m deep, lined up side by side in the dry bed of Lake Lonsdale. That's a picture of the amount of Grampians water that Stawell Gold Mine is presently using," said Cyanide Watch organiser, Graeme Dunstan.

More difficult to imagine is 98,000 tonnes of CO2, but that's the amount the Mine causes to be released into the atmosphere each year by way of diesel burned and grid power used in excavating and milling rock.

Seven hundred tonnes of deadly sodium cyanide is also used by the Mine, a lethal transport and environmental hazard on the road between Melbourne and the Mine.

These figures were released by the General Manager of Stawell Gold Mines, Troy Cole, in a meeting yesterday with Cyanide Watch organiser, Graeme Dunstan.

Mr Cole made it clear that the Stawell Gold Mine is at a cross road and he said he spent as much time attending meetings about closing the mine as he did planning its expansion.

Expanding the mine meant digging deeper into hot rock and a big capital investment in cooling systems. Test drilling had revealed plentiful low grade ores at about 4 to 6 grams per tonne.

The rising cost of gold would make this an economically viable operation but the environmental costs, of which Mr Cole was acutely aware, would continue to be enormous and increasingly so.

"The question is whether the Stawell Gold Mine management and the Stawell community in general is ready to bite the climate change bullet and act responsibly with the consequences for future generations in mind," said Mr Dunstan.

Cyanide Watch is a campaign to ban cyanide gold mining as too hazardous to transport in bulk and too environmentally damaging in use.

Further information
Graeme Dunstan, Cyanide Watch, 0427 582 993
Troy Cole, General Manager, Stawell Gold Mines 0427 582 993

Media Release Monday 17 March 2008
Stawell Gold Mines accused of
CO2 and Cyanide Crimes
Citizens concerned about the profligate poisoning of Wimmera water and air by Stawell Gold Mines will be speaking out at:

11.30 - 12.30 pm Wednesday 19 March 2008
outside the gates of Stawell Gold Mines, Reef Road, Stawell.

"The Stawell Gold Mine is dying " said Cyanide Watch organiser, Graeme Dunstan. "The sooner the mine is shut down, the healthier Stawell will be as a place to live for future generations,"

"Letting it linger longer in the name of jobs is false prosperity of the most toxic kind."

Dunstan said that the new owners, Northgate Minerals Corporation, were a Canadian owned venture capital outfit with stiff opposition to its mining ventures in Canada and described Northgate as "a corporate jackal come to Stawell to pick bones by cost cutting and scavenging low grade ores."

In a time of regional concern about climate change and drought, Dunstan said it is obscene to allow this foreign owned corporate criminal to go on poisoning local water on such a huge scale and emitting CO2.

Mr Dunstan said he didn't know the exact figures on the Mine's air and water pollution and that, as a matter public interest and public good, the protesters were wanting disclosure from the Mine and its supporting government agencies .

"But one can see that the water poisoning is to be measured in the millions of litres by viewing the mine's bloated tailings dams from Big Hill," he said.

Typically, a modern Australian gold mine extracts 1 kilogram of gold at the cost of 240 kg of cyanide consumed, 250,000 litres of water poisoned, 3,100 tonnes of solid wastes and 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

Mr Dunstan said the questions to be asked of the Northgate Minerals Corporation by the protest are:

How much (daily average) diesel is being used?

How much CO2 is being released?

How much sodium cyanide is being used?

How much water is being used?

Where is the water coming from?

What are the plans for the management of the toxic tailings dams over the next 5, 50 and 500 years?

For Information
Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688
Stawell community comment: Jane Marriott, member Future of Stawell Gold Mine Committee 0402 811 659
Dr Gavin Mudd, Monash University 0419 117 494 author Sustainability of Mining in Australia, a Research Report

Mia Pepper speaks out against the cyanide crimes of Orica outside Orica's HQ in Melbourne, 29 February 2008.

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