Farmers say no to invasive mining in South Australia

Participants raised concerns about the impact of mining on food quality and water security. Photo: Gemma Weedall.

About 1000 people marched from parliament house to Victoria Square in Adelaide on August 2, to show opposition to the proposal to turn farmlands into gaslands.

The rally and march, organised to show the danger to South Australia’s food bowl, water and tourism, was jointly organised by the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance, Stop Invasive Mining Group — Eyre Peninsula, and the Yorke Peninsula Landowners Group.

It had a strong rural focus, with people travelling from all over rural and urban South Australia to attend.

Participants raised their concerns about a number of invasive mining developments currently proposed or underway in South Australia, and in particular the impact of these on food quality and water security.

These include the Hillside Copper Mine project on the Yorke Peninsula, a number of open-cut iron ore mines on the Eyre Peninsula and shale gas exploration proposals in the south-east, which will use controversial fracking techniques.

Friends of the Earth supported the rally and said in a statement: “Farming production areas are being invaded by shale gas exploration in the South East of SA, mineral exploration and proposed mining for iron ore, copper and other minerals on Eyre Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula. Plus oil and gas exploration is being allowed off shore near Kangaroo Island, only around 10 km off the coastline.

“These exploration and proposed projects are a major threat to our groundwater aquifers, surface water, soil and air. We want to maintain our clean, green food bowl, water and tourism which should be held in trust for generations to come.”

Craig Wilkins, chief executive of the Conservation Council SA, hosted the rally and applauded the great turnout. He reminded the crowd that this was only the beginning of what would need to be an ongoing fight.

The crowd heard speeches from a diverse range of people including representatives from the host community groups; Greens MLC Mark Parnell; Family First MP Robert Brokenshire; Mayor of Robe Peter Risely; local doctor from Mt Gambier Catherine Pye, and David Noonan from the Wilderness Society.

Lauren Kakosche, a local farmer from the Yorke Peninsula whose property has been in the family for 50 years, spoke about the personal impact the proposed Hillside Copper mine will have on her family and community, and her concerns for her childrens' health and her family's livelihood.

Rally organiser and co-ordinator of the Limestone Protection Alliance Anne Daw said:a "I see today's rally as very important, to send a message to the politicians and government that it is time they put people and the planet first, and look after our food and water security. What we are now facing is ecocide".

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