The Dargues Gold Mine – at a Glance
What? A full-scale, underground gold mine.
Why? For the short-term profit of a few.
So what? 1.42 million tonnes of tailings (waste slurry rich in heavy metals) left in perpetuity at the headwaters of the Eurobodalla Shire’s drinking and water catchment: Spring Creek – Majors Creek – Araluen Creek – Deua River – Moruya River – Batemans Marine Park. The storage methods are a combination of Tailings Storage Facility (in this case, a valley lined with clay and walled with rock), and the disused voids of the underground mine. Both methods are known to generate leachate from the tailings over time. The storage facility is also prone to overtopping with heavy rainfall, or structural failure, and rests in a flood-prone valley and geological fault zone. Turbidation of waters by sediment discharge from where the topsoil has been stripped is also an issue, and has already occurred at Dargues. Then there’s the mine’s intersection of the groundwater system and associated lowering of the water table, for which the proponent will ‘compensate’ with inferior water from dams and water pumped from potentially contaminated historical mine shafts.
April 2010: The Proponent lodges its original application to the NSW Department of Planning & Environment (DPE).
September 2011: By recommendation of the Department of Planning, the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) grants approval; the approval is appealed by Coastwatchers, the Eurobodalla Shire Council, and the South East Regional Conservation Alliance.
July 2012: Mod 1 is approved by the DPE, overriding the court order.
NSW Department of Planning: http://majorprojects.planning.
This web page is the main archive of documentation on the Dargues Gold Mine, form the original application through to the current modification (Mod 3). It includes Environmental Assessments, submissions by government agencies, political parties, community groups and the general public. It also includes the Proponent’s responses to submissions, the Land and Environment Court Order, Recommendations from the Department of Planning, and determinations by the Planning Assessment Commission.
By Tom Wells
Region X Trip Leader + Humanitarian