Bird in Hand mine

With plans to reopen Woodside’s old Bird in Hand gold mine edging closer, now is the time for the community to explore whether a local mine is the best thing for the Hills.
Depositing a mine in the middle of a clean, green agricultural and tourism region – which could one day be World Heritage listed – certainly carries its share of risk.
While any impact on tourism or the reputation of the area is likely only to reach the businesses and producers in the immediate vicinity, miscalculation or mismanagement involving groundwater could be devastating to a far wider area.
The Hills is home to world-class wineries and the region has forged a reputation as a pristine food bowl and renowned cool climate wine area.
Mining company Terramin Australia has a sketchy history when it comes to managing groundwater, with miscalculations causing havoc at its mine in Strathalbyn.
There’s a lot more water to manage at Woodside and if Terramin gets it wrong a second time, many valuable Hills assets  could be jeopardised.
However, the mine is a double edged sword with its construction set to create 140 extra jobs in the region over the next few years.
And the royalties from a $400m gold deposit will no doubt be attractive to a cash-strapped State Government.
Terramin general manager and chief technical officer Joe Ranford said the company had learned from its mistakes and was committed to preserving ground water and working with the community to create acceptance for the project.
The mining company is moving towards community consultation and those with a vested interest should take notice.
It’s important that residents weigh up the risks and benefits of the mine while they have the chance.
Terramin has poured resources into exploring and planning the concept and if the community is concerned, the issues they raise should be based on well-educated arguments rather than emotional pleas.
With so much at risk – but also things to gain – now is the time for Hills residents to engage in intelligent debate and for the mining company and Government to listen.
The final decision could have significant ramifications for the future of the region.