Anti-mine protesters arrested

April 14, 2007

On April 8, police arrested 14 protesters at the Lake Cowal Gold Mine, 47 kilometres from West Wyalong in central-western NSW. Activists had locked themselves to mining machinery and entered the offices of the mine, in support of demands by the Wiradjuri traditional landowners that the mine cease operations. Some 100 Aboriginal and environmental protesters participated in the action.

During the protest, Barrick Gold manager Bill Shallvey refused to accept an eviction notice from traditional owner Neville "Chappy" Williams.

"Our Aboriginal people are being denied access to our sacred ground. Protesters from around the world are here to support our claim for access to our ancient lands", Williams said. He explained that Barrick is "desecrating our sacred site" and that the company "has moved or destroyed more than 10,000 artefacts including marked trees, damaging the integrity of the area forever".

Williams said the protesters were also "raising awareness of the dangers of cyanide leach gold mining and the mine's excessive use of precious water in the middle of the worst drought on record. The fullest dams, in the very parched countryside between Condobolin and the mine, are the toxic tailings ponds west of the open cut pit, which extends into the lakebed."

Activists are planning further action against Barrick on May 2, when the company's annual general meeting is scheduled.

Kerry Smith

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