Crs want more info on mine

COFFS HARBOUR City councillors are cautious about the threat to our water supply proposed by antimony mining in the Nymboida River catchment.

Despite a plea from Cr Mark Graham on Thursday for the council to strongly oppose all exploration for and mining of the toxic substance because of the “unacceptable risks to the Regional Water Supply”, councillors deferred the issue subject to a briefing from council staff “at the earliest possible opportunity”.

“My reason (for moving this amendment) is that this is a notice of motion from a councillor and any councillor can do the research, but councillors have not been briefed on the proposed catchment of the land in question,” said the mayor, Keith Rhoades.

“I would like to confer with the mayor of the Clarence Valley who is our partner in the Regional Water Supply. I do support the protection of our water supply but with no briefing, this is the best thing to do.

“I'm sure it (Cr Graham's motion) will be passed at the end of the day.”

But Cr Graham said there was a “grave risk” from the proposed mining operation, that he had done his research and the council had to act decisively.

“It is an urgent matter,” Cr Graham said.

Cr Bill Palmer said he was initially inclined to support Cr Graham.

“I don't think anyone around is more jealous of anything happening to our water supply than I am,” Cr Palmer said.

“Before we kill off what could be a very good industry for the area. . . and before I make up my mind, I would like to have more information.”

Cr Graham told councillors antimony and many of its compounds were toxic and the effects of antimony poisoning were similar to arsenic poisoning.

“Anchor Resources Ltd owns the Wild Cattle Creek/Bielsdown project within the headwaters of the Nymboida River, describing it as an advanced antimony project,” he said.

He said the Shannon Creek Dam south-west of Grafton and part of the regional water supply was gravity-fed by pipes directly from the Nymboida River, which had its headwaters across 1700 square kilometres of the Dorrigo Plateau, renowned as the highest rainfall catchment in NSW.