MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Elder to lead gold mine protest

Published by MAC on 2004-10-22

Elder to lead gold mine protest

October 22, 2004

Activists are expected to meet today at Lake Cowal, near West Wyalong on the NSW central western slopes, to stage one of the largest on-site protests against the Barrick gold mine development.

Wiradjuri elder Neville Williams is leading the traditional smoking ceremony, bringing sacred ashes from the fire at the tent embassy in Canberra.

Mr Williams is mounting legal challenges against several aspects of the mine's development, saying he represents the traditional owners of the land.

He says the convergence is on a large scale and demonstrates the massive support for his cause.

"We feel that the area there needs smoking and that's what we're about to do. We're to smoke the area to cleanse the area of the evil spirits," he said.

"It could take three or four days and we're expecting quite a few people.

"There could be 150 to 200 people at the gathering."

Barrick Gold's manager for business development, David Tucker, says his company will only move to stop the protest if those involved come onto the mine's land.

"Our security guards have been asked to observe and to ask people not to come on the mining lease," he said.

"If people do come on the mining lease then that will then become a police matter."

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