MAC: Mines and Communities

Traditional Owner, Neville 'chappy' Williams: Don't Desecrate Our Dreaming Site

Published by MAC on 2004-05-15
Source: COALITION TO PROTECT LAKE COWAL ()

"Don't desecrate our dreaming site,
Don't mine our sacred site.
I have fought Barrick in the courts for over two years.
Now it is time for us all to work together
To stop this disaster waiting to happen"

Traditional Owner, Neville 'Chappy' Williams (May 2004)

Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake situated 47km north-east of West Wylong in central western New South Wales, Australia. The lake is included in the Australian register of the National Estate and in it's directory of important wetlands.

Transnational mining corporation, Barrick Gold, have a mining lease encompassing approx 2650 hectares of this integral part of Australia's Murray-Darling basin.

The mining lease includes two cyanide tailing dams and an open-pit, 1km wide and 325 meters deep, to produce an estimated 2.7 million ounces of gold over a 13-year operation plan.

Lake Cowal is the sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation, part of the central ceremonial ground of one of the largest indigenous nations of Australia. As the oldest peoples on earth this region is rich with ancient artifacts and sacred sites.

Barrick Gold and their predecessors have not properly consulted with many aboriginal Traditional Owners from the region. This has created division among local community many of whom have declared their opposition to the Lake Cowal gold mine project.

Listed under two International Migratory Birds Agreement (CAMBA & JAMBA) Lake Cowal is home to many endangered flora and fauna species. 277 species of birds have been recorded or are considered as possible occurrences in the Lake Cowal Region.

Barrick have been granted a license to take 17 million litres of water a day in a region where a moratorium on new water licenses has been enforced because of the severity of drought.

A substantial amount of water will be used in the cyanide tailings damns turning precious water into a deadly poison that threatens significant ecosystems, flora and fauna, and communities along major waterways that run through three states of Australia: New South Wales; Victoria and South Australia.

AS A WORLDWIDE COMMODITY WATER IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD

TRADITIONAL OWNERS AND THE COALITION TO PROTECT LAKE COWAL SERVED THE 'NOTICE TO QUIT' FOR BARRICK GOLD TO END ALL OPERATIONS AT LAKE COWAL. THIS NOTICE WAS SERVED AT THE GATES OF THE LAKE COWAL MINE, AUSTRALIA ON 25 OCTOBER 2004 AND AT BARRICK HEADQUARTERS IN TORONTO, CANADA ON 26 NOVEMBER 2004.

COMMUNITIES ACROSS AUSTRALIA ARE BANNING TOGETHER TO RAISE A VOICE OF OPPOSITION AGAINST BARRICK GOLD

END THE CYANIDE GENOCIDE PROTECT LAKE COWAL
www.savelakecowal.org

SIGNED: THE COALITION TO PROTECT LAKE COWAL

Mooka/Kalara Traditional Owners Council Inc.
Friends of the Earth - Australia
Melbourne Friends of Lake Cowal Collective
Nature Conservation Council (Sydney)
Central West Branch TWS (Orange)
Mineral Policy Institute (Sydney)
The Greens NSW (Sydney)
Rainforest Information Centre (Lismore)
Central West Environment Council
Nimbin Environment Centre (Nimbin)
Peacebus
Clarence Environment Centre (Grafton)
Birds Australia
Mission Beach Environmental Management Group Inc. (Queensland)
Big Scrub (Lismore)
The Coalition to End Open Cut Gold Mining - Victoria
SOS Bergama Collective, (Sydney, NSW)
Humane Society International - Australia
Timbarra Café/Timbarra Action Group (Nimbin)
Mudgee District Environment Group (Mudgee, NSW)
Albury Wodonga Environment Centre
Western Region Environment Centre (Melbourne)

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