Government Proposes to allow Mining in Heritage Listed Wilderness Sanctuary
We are greatly concerned that the SA government is proposing to allow the mining company Marathon Resources to mine the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in the Northern Flinders Ranges.
My family have previously lived and worked at Arkaroola for over 10 years and we know and love the area and are afraid that it may all disappear if mining of this beautiful place is allowed. We believe any mining in Arkaroola would have dire consequences for the area if it is allowed to go ahead.
Marathon Resources mining exploration lease in Arkaroola was suspended last year when it was discovered that they had illegally dumped a huge amount of radio-active waste in various places such as creek beds in the Sanctuary, this was only from exploration drilling so we dread to think what mess a real mine would leave. Now, after a slap on the wrist it’s ludicrous to hear that the government are about to allow the company back into the sanctuary again!
It seems the government has attempted to dress up its proposal to allow mining to proceed and have released a glossy document called ‘Seeking a Balance’ in which they propose to rezone the entire current ‘Class A’ area, as they say will better protect the sanctuary, we believe its quite the opposite – studied carefully one would see its actually a serious downgrading of protection for Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. The zones don’t correspond to any natural or cultural divisions in the landscape. Infact, if anything they seem to be just a device to allow the discredited Marathon Resources to set up camp in the very heart of Arkaroola’s spectacular highlands and adjacent to the acclaimed Ridgetop Tours.
Under these proposed zones many popular tourist areas will be free to be mined such as – natural waterholes (required for the survival of the sanctuarys’ rare and endangered species like the Yellow Foot rock wallaby), also Mt Gee, a unique mountain of crystal and a geological monument, which amazingly is even Heritage Listed! But it doesn’t stop there – other Heritage Listed mountains are allowed to be mined as well, such as Mt Painter and the Armchair. Sillers Lookout, the most well known feature of Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is also in the firing line. My family finds this completely appalling and ask is there nothing that money can’t buy!
We believe the government’s proposal is deeply flawed – the idea that there can be a happy balance between mining and a wilderness sanctuary shows a distinct misunderstanding of wilderness concepts and practise. In addition, many key areas were overlooked, including the care of the cultural sites of the local Adnyamathanha people, corridors for the wildlife to move to adjacent areas and even the great number of tourists to this part of SA, were ignored. Arkaroola has over ten thousand visitors every year, many from overseas, who enjoy the spectacular scenery and the wildlife of South Australia’s pristine outback, however the governments proposal gives no comment toward the richness of their experiences.
SA already has two uranium mines and many others soon to start; there will only ever be one Arkaroola. If mining is allowed, the infrastructure that goes with it such as heavy trucks, slurry pits, mining buildings and access roads criss-crossing the sanctuary, will make a mockery of the title ‘wilderness sanctuary’.
Having lived in Arkaroola and experienced the beauty for many years our family believes the landscape is unique and irreplaceable and as such is well worth keeping free of mining. Anyone who has visited the sanctuary would say the same. The government is closing public opinion on this proposal on December 19th, and if readers would like to stop the destruction of this precious place to conserve it for our children we invite them to find how to help on www.savearkaroola.com.au
Yours sincerely, The Watts Family, Minnipa
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Categories: COPLEY/FLINDERS News & Events