Mine talks just a gab fest: group

THE action group against mining near Corryong has claimed the company is indifferent to environmental and farming concerns after a meeting yesterday.

It’s an opinion rejected by besieged Dart Mining chairman Chris Bain, who said with statutory processes yet to go through and impact studies still to be done, it was too early to answer the Thowgla Action Group’s questions.

Four days after the company’s major shareholder moved to sack the board, board members travelled to Thowgla Valley to meet up to 50 residents to hear their concerns about the Mount Unicorn project.

Thowgla Action Group member Wayne Potocky dubbed the exercise as a “gab fest”.

“We were very, very disappointed, we got very frustrated,” he said.

“Constructing a mine in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains in part of the catchment of the Murray we think is insane. We’re at the head of the river, anything that happens here is going to get downstream regardless.”

The group’s concerns include that farmers will lose water, the project will damage the environment and the proposed dam could breach.

Mr Bain said they were at the start of a long process.

“I understand they’re frustrated because they want answers quickly,” he said.

“But we were prepared to be there — we listened, but we didn’t make a lot of promises because we don’t yet have the answers.”

Mr Bain said it could take between 18 months to two years to complete an environmental impact study and even then, it still needed to be approved by authorities.

He said it was then the action group could formally submit concerns to independent authorities.

Mr Potocky said the group would eagerly await the chance to submit its objections.

A community meeting in Corryong last Wednesday was cancelled after the company said the scrub fire burning at Kings Creek prevented government representatives from attending.

In a statement from Dart’s management team, it said a rescheduled meeting would be announced where the draft scoping requirements for the environment effects statement, made public before the new meeting, would be explained.