[acn-l] Gammon Ranges threat (fwd)

PETER.UNMACK at asu.edu
Sun, 28 May 2000 20:58:28 -0700 (MST)

G'day folks

Thought this might be of interest to some of you. Does anyone out there know
more about this story? It is based in the north-eastern part of South

Peter Unmack

Forwarded message as follows:

Received this email regarding the Northern Flinders Ranges. Home to among
other amazing creatures, the Flinders mogurnda (Mogurnda clivicola), listed
as vulnerable by the Australian Society For Fish Biology.
Please help in addressing this issue,

Dear Recipient,

With a good amount of difficulty I have managed to 'dig up' some more
information on surely the most undiscussed issue affecting the environment
of South Australia - if not nationally - at this time.

Our premiere Wilderness Park is under threat from the mining industry,
specifically Manna Hill Resources Ltd., who have put forward a modest
proposal to demolish two hills in the Park, "about 3 kilometres inside the
park and about 1.5 km. either side of the [Weetootla] gorge's permanent
spring." (Advertiser 8/04/00)

As many of you will already know the Weetootla Gorge is the central tourism
region in the Gammons, close to the Balcanoona Park HQ, and the main 2WD
vehicle camping area in the park.

If you haven't been there you may not know that it is stunningly beautiful
- to quote Park Ranger Phil Strachan "Weetootla is probably the most
pristine area in the whole park" (Advertiser 8/04/00). It is a home to not
only the endangered Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby, but to a unique sub-species
of the Purple-Spotted Gudgeon - a fish found nowhere else in the world.
It's also an internationally recognised bird-watching site; overall the
unique environment created by the permanent spring has helped to create the
kind of oasis that has led to the area being incorporated into the National
Park in the first place.

Those of you who have access to the Australian Geographic Magazine may wish
to check out a feature article in the most recent edition on the Gammon
Ranges National Park which also highlights the Weetootla Gorge section.

The magnesite proposed to be mined here is to be smelted to produce
magnesium, mostly for the motor vehicle industry. You may also be unaware
of an intention to estabish a huge complex of such mines in the State's
north, with an initial announcement of the South Australian Magnesium Metal
project by SAMAG Ltd. in November of last year. This involves the
extraction of a 'world class' magnesite resource amounting to "516 million
tons over a strike length of more than 120km extending North West from
Leigh Creek". (Advertiser 14/11/99). This is all to be done via open cut.

The Gammon Ranges are not North West of Leigh Creek. It would seem that
this is a "me too" venture on the part of Manna Hill Resources Ltd. taking
advantage of the huge magnesium smelting operation to be set up at Port
Pirie for the SAMAG scheme.

I'll leave you to assess the merits of the 'vital to SA's economy' argument
that is bound to come up in this light. I'll ask you to decide for yourself
what a 'National Park' is supposed to be, and what natural heritage legacy
future generations are entitled to.

I will also remind you of the recent class actions in Port Pirie which were
an attempt to redress the damage done by the last lot of major mineral
smelting to be carried out in the gulf city. (Not to mention legacy of the
town's refining of the radio-active ore from Radium Hill prior to that.)

If, like me, you find the proposal to mine outrageous I urge you to contact
the minister as now really is the time that writing even a short note may
actually make a difference, as so far as I am aware the Minister for
Environment and Heritage, Iain Evans, has yet to give the required go-ahead
for the project.

Lobbying organisations will tell you that an original letter carries the
most weight politically, and is generally calculated as representing the
views of at least 1000 others. A simple expression of opposition to the
whole concept of mining in a National Park is sufficient, after all, what
is a National Park if not a place where precisely this kind of thing
cannot occur?

Also, due to this very important, precedent-setting issue receiving so
little publicity I urge you to write to the Papers, ring talk-back radio
(if you can stand it), and to generally discuss the issue in public.

And, by all means, forward this e-mail to those who you think may be
concerned or unaware or both.

The postal address of the Minister, and of Wayne Matthew, the Mines and
Energy Minister, are included below. As is the contact address and phone
number of Mr. David Moore, managing director of Manna Hill Resources Ltd..

The relevant contact details are as follows:

The Hon. Iain Evans
Minister for Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 1047
Ph. 8463 5680 (or his electorate office on 8278 5844)

The Hon. Wayne Matthew
Minister for Minerals and Energy
GPO Box 2190
Ph. 8296 9833

David Moore
Managing Director
Manna Hill Resources Ltd.
1/83 Greenhill Rd.
Ph. 8271 3856

Mr. Moore assured the Advertiser in April of this year that the company had
conducted " extensive environmental studies to ensure the area [the
Weetootla Gorge] will not be disrupted". This caused me to scuttle for my
dictionary, as I had previously regarded an open-cut mine in a National
Park as somewhat disruptive.

He has not replied to my call seeking clarification of his scheme at this

If you are interested in this campaign and would like to be kept informed
of developments please send a reply e-mail saying so. If you just want me
to go away and leave you alone please send a reply (politely) worded to
that effect, and I promise I will.

I have 'active text' file versions of the Advertiser article of last month
discussing the issue, an article from last year announcing the SAMAG
scheme, and a Conservation Council of SA press release on the matter able
to be e-mailed to you if you wish.

Thanks again for your time,


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