Greens NSW MP Dr John Kaye with Greens candidate Mr Craig Christie, mayoral candidate for Coffs Harbour City Council Dr Sally Townley, and Cr Mark Graham.
Greens NSW MP Dr John Kaye with Greens candidate Mr Craig Christie, mayoral candidate for Coffs Harbour City Council Dr Sally Townley, and Cr Mark Graham. Robin Wright

Greens' mining fear is scary

THE Greens latest anti-mining campaign is spreading fear because "the reality of mining in Dorrigo is terrifying," NSW Greens MP Dr John Kaye said.

Dr Kaye met with Coffs Harbour mayoral candidate Dr Sally Townley and fellow Greens candidates this afternoon to discuss the ongoing campaign.

Five mining exploration licenses now cover the headwaters of the Orara and Nymboida Rivers and Greens representatives say this could pose a risk to people between Yamba and Sawtell.

Dr Kaye pointed out the danger comes from the highly toxic minerals such as mercury, antimony, arsenic and lead which are known to occur in the ore bodies being targetted by the mining, particularly stibmite.

"The risk is real, the risk is genuine. The catchment is already teetering on the edge of being a health risk," he said.

When questioned about whether or not the mines would produce enough of the minerals to have a serious affect on the water system, Dr Kaye's response was adamant.

"There's a lot of water but there's also a lot of minerals," he said.

"The size of these open cut mines means that they will inevitably produce large quantities of toxic minerals.

"The thing is, these minerals are bio-accumulators, they build up in your body and the more you have, the worse it gets.

"You don't want to add any more into the natural background."

The area has a history of arsenic use in cattle farms but the effects of this are minimal compared to what mining could produce.

"These ore bodies are in a far more soluble form, in terms of risk management, we're told that the only way to contain them is to leave them undisturbed," Coffs Harbour Councillor Mark Graham said.

"By exposing them through mining, they can soak into the soil and into the water systems."

Cr Graham is confident their campaign against mining in the Dorrigo Plateau will succeed.

"There's this small industry sector suggesting they want to undertake this activity and everyone else loses out," he said.

"We are intending to run a long-running grassroots campaign. We've got the tourism industry behind us, we've got the fishing industry behind us, we've got the cane industry behind us, all of our major industries."



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