MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Barrick Gold Shareholders May Not Be Too Impressed

Published by MAC on 2003-05-07


Barrick Gold Shareholders May Not Be Too Impressed

Press Release, Lake Cowal Campaign

May 7, 2003

While Barrick Gold hopes to impress shareholders with an announcement (May 6, 2003) of a dividend being distributed next week, shareholders at the Annual General Meeting held today in Toronto may not be too impressed with Barrick's record in Australia.

"A number of concerned Canadians will be attending the meeting to deliver a statement from Wiradjuri Elder, Neville Williams and to let shareholders know that the Lake Cowal Gold mine continues to be delayed," says Ruth Rosenhek of the Coalition to Protect Lake Cowal.

In his Letter to Barrick Shareholders, Neville Williams says, "There are many artefacts beneath the surface of the Lake because Lake Cowal is very, very old. Our artefacts are not "relics". They have not been abandoned. They are where they are meant to be, left there by our Old People. Our Old People were massacred at Lake Cowal.

"And yet, Barrick Gold has applied for three Consents to Destroy, under section 90 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, in less than a year. I challenged the first Consent to Destroy as invalid. The second Consent to Destroy has an injunction against it from the NSW Land and Environment Court. Now, Barrick Gold has reapplied to destroy ALL the Wiradjuri sites, artefacts and cultural objects, including very old marked river red gums, within the proposed gold mine area at Lake Cowal. Some of the river red gums in the mine area are hundreds of years old.

"Our protection of the Lake for thousands of years means that it is still the home and breeding grounds for hundreds of species of birds and mammals. The survival of many of the beautiful birds and animals at Lake Cowal is now threatened. This is sad and shameful. Lake Cowal is already recognized as an internationally important wetland and is listed in the Register of the National Estate.

"Barrick Gold is proceeding with its drilling exploration program against the wishes of the majority of Wiradjuri Traditional Owners or any go ahead from a Native Title access agreement.

"I and other Wiradjuri Traditional Owners feel that the Wiradjuri Peoples have been denied our religious freedom, which is our right under the Australian Constitution, section 116."

"As shareholders exit the meeting, we will be handing them Lake Cowal campaign videos that show Lake Cowal, birdlife and threats to this precious region." says Rosenhek

"The Barrick Gold project is most definitely inadequately designed. The tailings ponds are too big and hence unmanageable, the cyanide destruction technology is insufficient, and arsenic risks entering into the river system heading downstream in the food chain of the Murray Darling Basin. These are but a few of the known risks. Clearly, this project needs to be halted."

For more information, call 61-2-66213294 or email ruthr@ozemail.com.au
See also http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/gold/lakep.html

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