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Protests Shut Down Barrick Gold's Lake Cowal Mine while Cyanide Code Certifies Operation

Published by MAC on 2006-04-18

Protests Shut Down Barrick Gold's Lake Cowal Mine while Cyanide Code Certifies Operation

18th April 2006

With no hint of irony, the International Cyanide Management Institute announces that Barrick Gold's Lake Cowal mine in New South Wales, Australia has been certified as compliant with the International Cyanide Management Code even as protestors shut the mine down to protest — among other things — the use of cyanide.

Gold mine protesters leave area

18th April 2006

Police say protesters who set up camp near the Lake Cowal gold mine in central New South Wales at the weekend have moved on.

Barrick Gold had to halt production on Easter Sunday when about 30 protesters ran into the mine quarry - one chaining himself to machinery.

Eight people were charged with trespassing and they are due to face West Wyalong court next month.

The group said it wanted to stop the delivery of cyanide to the mine but police this morning say they have left the area.

One of the protesters, Benny Zable, says they will continue the fight.

"I feel very strongly about this mine because this mine is using cyanide. It's ... divided the Aboriginal community ... a lot of the Aboriginal community don't even realise they've been taken, that they shouldn't have agreed to this mine and you'll hear more about it," he said.

Mr Zable refused to agree to the original bail condition that he stay five kilometres from the mine, describing it as unreasonable.

He challenged that in Wagga Court yesterday and bail was changed to bar his entry to Barrick's property at Cowal.

"I just feel really, really degraded by the way I was treated from the mine site and all the way down here," he said.

"I think the way people like us, especially who are raising issues of life and death issues on this planet at the moment, you known need to be given better treatment."

Washington, DC

17th April 2006

First Operation Certified Under International Cyanide Management Code

The International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI) announced today that Barrick Gold Corporation's Cowal Mine in New South Wales, Australia has been certified as compliant with the International Cyanide Management Code (Code).

ICMI has received and accepted a Detailed Audit Findings Report prepared by an independent professional third-party auditor who evaluated the Cowal Project against the ICMI's Verification Protocol and found it in full compliance with the Code's Principles and Standards of Practice. A summary of the audit report is available on the Signatory Companies Page on the ICMI web site:

The Cowal Mine is not yet in operation. Its certification is based on the company's written commitments to implement the measures necessary for responsible management of cyanide at the gold mine once it is operational. A follow-up audit must be conducted within one year of the mine's first receipt of cyanide to confirm that it has met these commitments. The operation will be re-audited every three years thereafter to evaluate its continuing compliance with the Code.

The Code is a voluntary industry program for companies involved in the production of gold using cyanide and companies producing and transporting this cyanide. It was developed under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme by a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee. The Code is intended to complement an operation's existing obligation to comply with the applicable laws and regulations of the political jurisdictions in which the operation is located.

ICMI has been established to administer the Code, promote its adoption, evaluate its implementation, and manage the certification process. A detailed list of the operations covered by signatory companies' applications, along with the full text of the Code and its implementing and administrative documents, are available at,20281,18830022-5001028,00.html

Eight arrests after goldmine raid

By Paul Carter

16th April 2006

FIFTY environmental activists have stormed and occupied an open cut goldmine in Western New South Wales, halting mining operations, and causing the arrest of eight protesters, police and the activists said today.

Activist spokesman Graeme Dunstan said protesters opposed to the use of cyanide at the Barrick gold mine, 40 km from West Wyalong near Lake Cowal, jumped perimeter fences at the mine and ran past a dozen security guards to occupy the pit about 11am (AEST).

Police and ambulance officers were called to the mine where one of the protesters had chained himself by the neck to a large mining truck.

The protester chained to the truck was cut free by mine workers. No one was injured.

Narrandera-based police inspector Kevin Hutley said up to 50 people trespassed on to the Barrick mine lease today.

Officers arrested five males and three females and took them to West Wyalong police station where each was charged with one count of trespass, Insp Hutley said.

All the protesters submitted peacefully to arrest and the remainder were bussed out of the mine after successful negotiations, Insp Hutley said.

"We are quite happy with the cooperation of the protesters," Insp Hutley said.

He said about 70 protesters set up camp outside the mine yesterday in what has been an annual protest against the mine for the past five years.

Before today only three arrests had ever been made in relation to the protests, Insp Hutley said.

Mr Dunstan, whose group call themselves Cyanide Watch, said while the mine was being built for the past five years, the actual mining of gold had only started a couple of weeks ago.

He said mining had continued over the Easter holiday but was halted today by the invasion for safety reasons.

Cyanide Watch plans to block the delivery of six container loads of cyanide to the mine at 6am (AEST) tomorrow, Mr Dunstan said.

"Cyanide is a deadly toxic poison and we are here to stop the delivery at the mine gates tomorrow morning," he said.

The group also plans a number of further actions this week in towns along the cyanide's route from Sydney.

The Cyanide Watch activists are among 120 protesters who had joined a protest camp against the mine in sympathy with a faction of the local indigenous clan, the Wiradjuri people, who also oppose the mine, Mr Dunstan said.

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