MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Traditional Owner Halts Exploration at Lake Cowal

Published by MAC on 2002-03-21


Media Release - Wiradjuri Traditional Owner Halts Mining Exploration at Lake Cowal, New South Wales, Australia

21st March 2002

Contact Information: Al Oshlack 0415140410 61-2-95652326

Court grants urgent interlocutory injunction to halt damage to artefacts.

Today the Land & Environment Court in New South Wales (NSW), Australia granted an injunction restraining Canada's Barrick Gold/Homestake Mining from continuing any exploration drilling at the Lake Cowal gold project site situated in Central Western New South Wales.

The injunction also extends to restrain any movement of vehicles at the site. The interim injunction takes effect from 12 noon March 23rd and all machinery must be removed off the site by 12 noon Monday, March 25th.

The action was taken by Wiradjuri Traditional Owner Neville Chappie' Williams claiming that the current exploration activities at Lake Cowal are causing damage to sacred relics and artefacts which are part of the sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation.

The application for the injunction was made on the grounds that the relics were being damaged without any "Consent to Destroy" being granted by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW).

Evidence by consulting archaeologists and video tapes showing the damage was presented to the court. The Mining company proposal to collect all the relics and remove them to the National Parks office in Forbes was dismissed.

Mr. Williams said "I feel quite pleased. We have to save the Wiradjuri's past for the future generations and that's Wiradjuri's history at Lake Cowal. It's the heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation. We have close and ongoing ties with Lake Cowal. Our heritage and culture and tradition reaches back to the beginning many thousands of years ago. Our race is as old as time itself."

"I feel that the result today is moving forward in the right direction. I would like to see the mine project completely halted. Our sacred site should be there for always, for generations and generations to come."

Barrick/Homestake's Cowal Gold project proposes to construct and operate a gold mine that utilizes cyanide extraction processes on Lake Cowal in Central West New South Wales in the upper Lachlan wetlands.

For further information please see
http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/gold/lakec.html

or on this site
International Groups Decry Barrick Gold's Plans for Lake Cowal in Australia (18 Feb 02)

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