Marathon Resources  announcement that work will recommence at the Arkaroola Sanctuary’s, Mt. Gee,  noted by Pirsa as an “inferred deposit” has caused grave concerns as to whether we have a government overboard, or the ambitious miner is simply stroking shareholders.

Mt Gee has been mined unsuccessfully in the secluded Flinders Ranges for approximately 40 years.  South Australians wait with both interest and disgust for a resolution to what appears an irresponsible thirst for minerals of any description, particularly in heritage areas which is almost everywhere, when uranium and the mining thereof is not a preferred option for Australians, neither are some of the offshore sales.  

Greens MLC Mark Parnell says Marathon must not be allowed to resume exploration of any kind in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.   The call comes as Marathon announced it will start more non-drilling exploration in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary from today, despite not even commencing rehabilitation of their old dump sites.

At this stage only a “Rectification Plan” for the clean up at Mt Gee has been approved and is awaiting instructions from PIRSA on a commencement date. 

“How can Marathon be let back in to do more damage when they haven’t even started cleaning up their old mess?” asked Greens MLC Mark Parnell. “As any parent knows: allowing more mess to be created before old mess is cleaned up is a recipe for disaster”, Mark added.

In what seemed a premature and surprise announcement, the board of Marathon Resources released a statement this week reassuring shareholders that the recent decline in the price of the Company’s shares is not related to any change in the fundamentals of the company and that they believe the share price has been affected by the current external market volatility. 

Marathon stated that their work continues on all non-drilling parts of their exploration activities and were to commence a gravity survey program at the Mt Gee uranium deposit (noted by PIRSA as an “inferred deposit”) in South Australia on Thursday.

After 40 odd years of futile mining at Mt Gee by what have been called “cowboy operators” that burnt shareholders tend to have forgetten, Marathon Resources said, “we believe there is potential for further mineralisation in the region of the Mt Gee deposit in EL3258 and this gravity survey will add to the evidence base of the uranium resource”.

The whole mining industry is watching the Government’s response to Marathon extremely closely.  So far, all they are seeing is minor consequences for major breaches of environmental standards.  To blithely continue exploration before completing any sort of basic clean up of past mistakes shows this company has still not realised how wrong their previous actions were,” Mark Parnell said today.

A great deal has been written on the mining of Mt. Gee or as some have said, “the stock exchange”,  which indicates the public as well as the mining community have an interest in how places like the Arkaroola Sanctuary and companies such as Marathon will be handled. In particular the message our government will be sending regarding a precedent to breach rules without penalty.  The non-penalty of Marathon’s extensive littering, damages and alleged theft of valuable fluorite,  still to be explained.  The question in the community has become, “why is the taxpayer’s dollar funding free water and mass destruction of heritage for mining companies with no respect for the people of this country?”

Mark Parnell has introduced a Bill into State Parliament to ban all mining activity in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.  Cross-party support for such a ban is growing with prominent Liberals including Senator Nick Minchin and Iain Evans vocal in their opposition to mining in Arkaroola.   

“Mark Parnell further stated, “Marathon behaved appallingly, were caught out and now the Government must show them the door for good.  They must not be allowed to re-commence exploration of any kind.  It’s time, once and for all, for the majestic and magnificent Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary to be preserved for future generations without risk of future damage from mining cowboys.”

This describes location of the Mawson Project Tenement on the Arkaroola Sanctuary

This describes location of the Mawson Project Tenement in the Arkaroola Sanctuary

 Above: Map placed by request describing the Mawson Project Tenement also in the Arkaroola Sanctuary

The peg is the location (Mawson Project) which is at a low point in landscape in relation to all other directions n/s/e/w

The peg is the location (Mawson Project) which is at a low point in landscape in relation to all other directions n/s/e/w

Above: Credit – google-earth satelite image of Arkaroola Sanctuary and surrounding mining projects. Placed by request

23 replies »

  1. Re: Arkaroola cowboys return, yet waste and damage remains

    An odd story indeed, why do the machinations persist? It’s a folly and as Parnell says the whole industry is watching but who is watching them, when all eyes are on Mount Gee, Arkaroola Sanctuary, Marathon…..and the list goes on.

    The federal government have ignored this yet the prospect of such a company getting an export permit limited, you would like to think. Imagine Marathon selling the yellow stuff on the world stage….crazy !!

    It’s clearly a distraction but not sure everyone has cottoned on to that, yet Mark Parnell says: “It’s time, once and for all, for the majestic and magnificent Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary to be preserved for future generations without risk of future damage from mining cowboys.”

    Thats very true Mark and it’s also time for the whole of South Australia, its natural environment and people to be afforded protection from government actions with corporate partners which have a damaging effect on our long term sustainability and fracture human relationships in communities of people across the state.

  2. Sanctuary Response on the radio to Marathon Scandal:

    What a peculiar response from the owner of the sanctury, Marg Spriggs? Meets the CEO of Marathon but cant share details, not a great conversation then what sort of chat was it?

    “The CEO was up here a week ago … so no, we haven’t had any great conversation. We’re due to have a meeting on the sixth of November about when the clean up will start, that will be in Adelaide between the EPA, Marathon, PIRSA and ourselves … we haven’t had any great discussions.”

    Has the Marathon charade benefited the sanctuary after all? Will the owners ban the operators from their accomadation and services? Really, this scandal has so many aspects which have not been explored, I think the sanctuary should be left alone, this company should be de-registered, and all politicians and concerned Australians should legislate to stop wilful damage and wasteful behaviours in our precious environment.


  3. I don’t know if the Greens are on to this or part of this. It’s really hard to tell sometimes.

    For the Greens Mark Parnell to drag out Uranium proponent Prof Ian Plimer as evidence or support of the Arkaroola Act is about as credible as thinking Nick Minchin or Chris Schact have an ounce of credibility to their names.

    It’s one thing to be green and support the environment, it’s quite another to create convenient exceptions as the needs arise to navigate through the political quagmire which is…politics in South Australia. (ie the Greens now support the expansion of uranium mining north of Beverley…isnt the term for this flip flop policy on the run?)

    It appears, and may I be tested on this, that conflicts of interest abound in relation to the Marathon scandal and ALL beneficeries should show their cards now or stop playing games and being involved in this farce.

    I certainly have been following this case closely and will reveal or the facts if the politicians and self interested business entities don’t get serious and admit their folly and dishonesty in this dreadful chapter in the selective and deceitful rape and pillage of the Australian natural environment.

    OK, I will watch developments and see how it pans out but I smell many a rat in what the public I am sure would regard as unexpected places.


  4. Re: Arkaroola cowboys

    It would have been lovely for the professor to decline the bursary from Marathon to Adelaide University funding his professorial duties, if indeed he was at all serious about his public position on Marathon Resources, but the public record shows that these so called ‘experts’ are well oiled from the grease of industry making their statements about environment, energy, climate change, and sustainable mining…nothing more than well funded public relations and hollow words.

    Click to access mj42_mining_school.pdf

  5. Re: Arkaroola cowboy obvservations

    Correct. All parties need to declare exactly how they have benefited and if there is ongoing benefit. Plimer does smell on the nose here, maybe not the best choice of Greens ally and sad to see the Greens supporting Uranium Mining expansion of Beverley – this must be a national first for the Greens and maybe Bob Brown needs to comment on where they are going now that the SA branch has signalled support for a consortium which does not have environment, water, or world peace on the company agenda.

  6. Does this mean Greens are going soft as well on nuclear?

    The policy says:

    The Australian Greens will:

    10. end the exploration for, and the mining and export of, uranium.

    11. prohibit the processing and enrichment of uranium in Australia.

    12. prohibit the import and export of nuclear waste and fuel rods.

    13. prohibit the reprocessing of Australian nuclear fuel rods.

    14. promote the development of non-reactor technologies for the production of radioisotopes for medical and scientific purposes.

    15. close the nuclear facility at Lucas Heights.

    16. ensure that nuclear waste is stored with minimal risk and is monitored above ground at or near the site of generation.

    17. require uranium mining companies to meet enforceable standards to safely contain and to monitor their radioactive tailings wastes.

    18. require uranium mining companies to rehabilitate mining sites.

    19. immediately close Australia’s ports and territorial waters to nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed vessels.

    20. prohibit the treatment of food with ionising radiation (food irradiation), and the importation of such food.

  7. re: Arkaroola Cowboys

    What a strange thing to suggest that a Greens MP introducing a bill to prevent uranium mining at Arkaroola is going soft???

    Parnell is clearly using Plimer’s support as an example of how blindingly obvious it is that this should be done – if even a known uranium supporter feels exploration should not be conducted in this place, it backs up the argument which could otherwise be dismissed as “just what the Greens always say”.

    This kind of nonsensical attack on Mark Parnell helps no-one on the anti-nuclear cause.

  8. re: Arkaroola Cowboys

    Its right to stop uranium mining on the sanctuary, but it looks like the Greens are breaching their own policy in supporting the expansion of Beverley on the west side of the sanctuary. Labor was had a 3 mines policy, I dont think the Greens should deviate from policy, do you? The argument that ‘a known’ uranium supporter is a Arkaroola supporter is a bit weak, look at Senator Nick Minchin who is in the same camp but was the sign off man for Beverley despite warnings from science and academia about the risks and lack of an EIS.

  9. re: Arkaroola Cowboys returning to the Santuary

    Mark is well supported in his tireless work to protect the sanctuary, but I agree that policy consistency is important as well…water is a key issue here…so many aquifers from the GAB are suffering and therefore plant and animal life…the Roxby operation is a terrible waste of GAB recharge water (1/4 from memory). And thankyou Mark for chasing down the missing fluorite (blatant theft) which still has not been returned and if a member of the public defiled a sanctuary would they not be heavily fined or imprisoned, seems to be double standards operating?

  10. Reg’s lowprofile offspring

    Regarding the comment on the odd response from Marg Spriggs, it doesn’t appear as though the two Spriggs offspring are ever quoted as saying a great deal which is notable on the subject of the environment. After all they are perfect hosts as they cater and accommodate the rather busy industry of mining companies frequentlng the Sanctuary.

    Wouldn’t mind an accommodation business with that turnover of clientele.

    Honestly can’t recall a great deal ever being said by or about those two. They seem trapped somehow and extremely media sensative. That interview seemed very evasive, particularly when Marathon are a public company. Surely what shareholders they have left would be keen to know the opinion of the landholder. But that is only an observers opinion. People can be hard to read from a distance, but yes, environmental things are said up to a certain point, however it stops short of lobbying to wholeheartedly protect the sanctuary.

    One could imagine the presence of mining companies to be very beneficial in a business sense. And given that the mining companies have twofold hosts in one, while they are in the Sanctuary there would need to be good relationships abounding. Undoubtedly friendships would be formed. Those mining execs are hired for their charm or mesmeric traits. After all, that is their job isn’t it..building relationships. Hearing that a lot at present, particularly around potential mining communities.

  11. Great thread everyone,

    Has anyone information on the Mawson project, surprised this is not mentioned as it adjoins Mt Painter area and is 50% Korean owned?

    Mawson Project, SA.
    The Mawson Project is comprised of one Exploration Licence (EL 3502) of 88km2 covering part of the prospective Mount Painter Complex, 5km to the south west of the Mt Gee uranium deposit (Marathon Resources Ltd) which has recently been upgraded to 51 million tonnes at 615ppm U3O8 for 31,000 tonnes of U3O8.

    The project covers the southern extension of the Mount Painter Complex and the continuation of the Paralana Fault zone. Reactivation of this fault is believed to be an important factor in the localisation of the uranium mineralisation at the Mount Gee and Mount Painter breccia hosted uranium deposits held by Marathon Resources Ltd.

    Previous field work conducted by Scimitar returned anomalous rock chip results up to 850 ppm U from granitoid bodies in the Giants Head area, and from granitoids discovered to the northeast at Tourmaline Hill.

    The Umberatana granitoid complex is believed to belong to the Ordovician Mudnawatana granite and granitic breccia suite, which hosts the uranium mineralisation in the adjacent Mt Gee area. These areas will be the focus of further field exploration through ground radiometric surveys and detailed mapping and sampling in the coming year.

  12. Check out the map on the unknown sa site,

    a map for mike rann

    That places EL3502 in the middle of the sanctuary but no mention of it in this Marathon debacle?????????

  13. Where is EL3502?

    EL3502 is not on PIRSA’s website. Think its time the interested parties put some comments in here despite Erics enthusiasm. Thinking on my feet but if the Koreans are swamping SA, doesnt Rudd and the nuke non proliferation crew also need to offer some feedback?

  14. Re: Where is EL3502 ?

    Note it comes up here with Scimitar Resources for those interested in the preservation of our country’s heritage areas. It’s pretty well hidden, but last seen here. I can’t find it on Pirsa either. Maybe it’s been withdrawn from the exploration process appropriately. Maybe it’s been given a new number.

    Someone with better research skills might find out where it really is. It’s bound to be somewhere in the system. Thought they were public servants. Seem to have it back the front. Don’t recall anyone in this state or country ever requesting this type of assault on a state which belongs to the people of South Australia. The government seem to act like they personally own the land and US.

    Read where Mike Rann told BHP that the minerals belonged to the people of South Australia. Sounded like they were having an argument. We, the people, don’t want this dirty problem, experience or it’s filthy money. Only those reaping benefits and wages from it see the $$ The actual people are getting sick from all of the industry and the government all know this and don’t appear to care. Their very communities and very homes are at risk.


    We also don’t want our water poisoned. We want to drink it. Get these parasites out of our hair and stop raping this country!


    Yeah, agreed, lets let the Greens and Spriggs add their comments before we jump to any hasty conclusions…I did another search on SARIG and came up with ZILCH, maybe this is another scam just like the Marathon one…but in all fairness lets hear on this thread from Marg and Mike Parnell before we jump to hastily to any conclusions…im not liking what I see but its also healthy to hear all viewpoints before reaching a conclusion yes?

  16. Searching for the Truth on Arkaroola

    Does anyone see something totally ridiculous here? Why do we have to find out what’s really happening to OUR country, by hit and miss guessing and seeking assistance from each other on websites or by other means ie Freedom of Information. Why aren’t the government more transparent. I don’t believe anything they say, because there is so much they don’t say.

    Why is everything worded a special way that suits the concept of one politician or the opinion of his wife over the breakfast table. None of them have any answers to climate change or the economy. They set themselves up to be leaders with shallow promises and ulterior motives.

    Let’s face it the ASX and the mining companies control our government. Is this what WE want? WE don’t even feature unless it’s to pay some ridiculous tax so THEY can have some fame and shortlived glory by riding on OUR backs and using the money for massive aircraft emisons for all their trips. Particularly the ones to Canberra where they argue pathetically over who has the biggest muscles. Only occasionally do they mention the people of this country.

    Any ideas guys/gals? What qualifications have any of these other galahs got. None except they are trying to make MONEY out off climate change. They are pretty slow and this stock market crash has proven how risky that is.

    THIS COUNTRY IS BORDERING ON COMMUNISM… Everyone is saying it and now we are seeing it.

    Thank God the PEOPLE are waking up and speaking up. Personally hoping for a revolution. The SA government is really pushing it’s luck and wasting a lot of OUR money on pipe dreams.

  17. Cyanide Miners Killing the Wildlife.

    While everyone here is talking about mining – Does Arkaroola or the Flinders have mines that use cyanide?

    I don’t know what practices they use in the Flinders Ranges at the copper mine but we spoke to a chap today whose job it was at a mining company in South Australia to handle cyanide tablets (without gloves) and was told not to worry about it when he reported that the big tank full of cyanide was running over the edges onto the ground.

    (I read on the internet that cyanide is any chemical compound that contains the cyano group (C≡N), which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom.) but this is not very clear.

    The reason he was upset was because he heard talks about their safe practices and because he is an aborigine he liked the idea of working on his own land in the desert. They said they want to employ aborigines but he was given a pretty bad job. He said they don’t really seem to like aborigines but they have to employ some because of something the goverment said.

    After he got upset with the tanks spilling over he asked someone what cyanide was and found out it was poisonous. He thought it was some sort of chemical. He spoke to the bosses about the poison spilling on the ground all the time and said they should be taking care of the environment. He asked them if they got him to do that job because he was a black-fellow and why didn’t they tell him to use gloves. They sacked him. He isn’t even allowed back to pick up his belongings.

    I only ask because of the water under the ground and this guy said it was bucketting out of this huge tank all the time like they had plenty to waste. I notice people are talking about water a lot right now and wonder how come the mines can do all this stuff and have plenty of free water. I also heard that the government doesn’t really check as long as they pay money they can do a lot of damage and have free water. The other problem is the birds and animals that drink from water lying around the mine were dying, he said and that there were a lot of dead things around the place on the mine site.

    He told us they use heaps of water and was worried because it might be running out. I know the aborigines are worried about the water. He said it’s like a spider web of streams under the ground and they used to be able to dig for it so it can’t be too deep and this stuff might get into it and poison some of the communities who have bores.

    That’s all we’ve heard at the moment. He’s gone somewhere else now but it would be good to know how to have it checked.

    Anyone with an idea about this can write to me on here cos we read it nearly every day.
    thanks Jacinta.

    Administrator’s Note: This comment is awaiting photographs allegedly identifying the spillage.

  18. Folks,

    That’s EL 3258, which is actually held under the name of Bonanza Gold, but it’s Marathon’s lease. It expires later next year, and whether the company will actually drill again before that happens is going to be a crucial issue. Bear in mind that that will occur a couple of months out from the state election.

    I have to say in Marg’s defence that she has been very active in defending the Sanctuary – frequently on ABC Radio in particular. If you want to know what she thinks just go to Arkaroola’s website –

    And in Mark P’s – both major parties are backing Beverley 4 Mile. Strongly. Standing on ceremony about a relatively minor incursion into the eastern fringe of the adjacent plains section of the Sanctuary by Alliance could cost us the core of the Arkaroola Sanctuary. Standing similarly about Uranium mining in general ditto.

    Politics ultimately is about what’s possible. And opposing the Beverley expansion – remembering that while one hears a lot about the public disliking uranium mining one sees them doing very little indeed to support those who actively fight it! – is futile. If Alliance should try to open a mine in the range itself, however… just watch the sparks fly!

    Actually, I’d say mining tenement info in this state is pretty easy to come by, thanks to SARIG; the SA Resource Information Geoserver. You might want to take a stroll through my ‘Boom – explore SA the Miners’ way!’ set on flickr ( ) which is a walk-through introduction to it.

    Anybody who thinks that mining Arkaroola is a terrible idea – and, isn’t that almost everyone? – would greatly decrease the likelihood of its ever actually happening if they spent ten minutes writing a politely worded note to the Premier to that effect. Labor know this project is deeply unpopular, but the public needs to be a louder voice in their ear than ‘Labor Mate’ Senator Schacht, who’s on Marathon’s board and bought the Chinese Sovereign Wealth Fund money into this project.

    Mike’s e-mail is Or you can phone his office: 8463 3166

    And, for the record, Marathon shares are currently worth about 25c, down from a year high of $3.28, and a historic high of $6.98. Some of us are a little sceptical that their misfortune isn’t related to the dumping scandal, but they say it’s just the Market that’s done it. Either way, I reckon there’ll be a lot of long faces in Port Road, Hindmarsh…

  19. EL3502 is in the public domain and is not EL3258,

    Sound advice to write or phone the Premier, lets hope more people do that, but in the meantime the tenement 5 km south west of Mt Gee could well do with some explaining.

    Check page 66 of this report :

    Scimitar Resources Limited and controlled entitities

    Annual Financial Report for the Year ended June 30, 2008

    Project – Mawson SA – EL3502 100% interest

    The Mawson Project is comprised of one Exploration Licence (EL 3502) of 88km2 covering part of the prospective Mount Painter Complex, 5km to the south west of the Mt Gee uranium deposit in South Australia…etc..

    Administrators Note: By request a map has been place in the original post at the top of this thread which describes the location of the Mawson Project Tenement.

  20. Re: Jacinta – Cyanide killing the wildlife

    Jacinta – Challenger out the other side of Tarcoola near the Maralinga Lands uses cyanide. What you’ve posted is s fairly damning indictment of attitudes by some in the mining game.

  21. Re: Arkaroola Cowboys (all of them)

    Thanks for clarifying that area as it seems awefully close to the Arkaroola Village if anyone cares to use google earth.

    If anyone has better information on this, would certainly like to hear about it. Can understand that companies are constantly changing names and developing offshoots, but this does indicate that Marathon don’t have an interest in the Mawson Project.

    Bill, appreciate your fine input and hope we are all on the same page. Your website is remarkable and photography indeed reflects the beauty you unselfishly wish to preserve for generations to come.

    This confusion also indicates that perhaps PIRSA could reorganise their website to make for better transparancy of these companies. After all, along with things like “inferred deposits” not requiring firm confirmation, the current government needs to be reminded that it only got into power on the Greens preferences.

    With due respect for the comment by Bill Doyle (above) that the public need to have a louder voice – a polled and published survey done before the last federal election in Victoria alone strongly showed that a major state overwhelming preferred everything clean and pure, which did not include the newly painted uranium or it’s filthy and unsolveable waste disposal problem and other industries making our kids and families sick, ie terminally ill.

    One would have thought that was a pretty loud statement, but with the pathetic puppet media we have today, it has been conveniently squashed.

    The risk factor outlined by Jacinta (above) should also be under closer scrutiny than it is by an EPA which has an office in the government controlled PIRSA building. Personally it appears as though public servants are being paid far too much to betray their country and should be ashamed of themselves.

    The party who was launched into federal power by default is now flying in the face of the preference it rode in on the back of. Noone has forgottten this and neither should they. Perhaps the stock market crash was Karma, as what goes around comes around and it will come around quickly.

    When a city as large as Melbourne and Adelaide discover they are running out of water, the people who have been listening to empty words will vote and it won’t be for a water thirsty mining industry.

  22. Google image of mining project locations in relation to Arkaroola Sanctuary

    I emailed a google image to the Coober Pedy Times, if it helps feel free to post it in the thread.

    Copper mines can be as toxic and water hazardous as uranium mines Jacinta, they should have inspection bores to enable water quality to be monitored but many dont. My ex worked at the Mountain of Light copper mine (Flinders Ranges) briefly and swore not to work in that industry again. Lets all pray that we will have a government that puts peoples health and the environment first and we can focus on more soul enriching activities then.

    Administrator’s Note: Credit – google-earth satelite image of Arkaroola Sanctuary and surrounding mining projects. Placed by request in parent news item above

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