Mine decision

With community consultation about the controversial Bird in Hand gold mine set to wrap up next month, its fate will soon be firmly in the hands of the State Government.
Mining is a contentious issue within the Liberal Government, having already twice caused division within the Party’s ranks.
The Woodside mine could provide another obstacle for the Government, with about 200 concerned residents showing up at the Woodside Institute earlier this week, eager to know that their opinions will be listened to – and acted upon.
Local Member Dan Cregan – who has already voted against his Party twice over mining matters in response to community concerns – has given constituents reason to believe that their voices will be heard in this debate.
However, while the Minister has promised to – and is required to – consider the feedback given during the consultation period, the public may hold some reservations after recent controversial mining reforms passed through Parliament despite opposition from the primary production industry and four Liberal backbenchers.
With the State strapped for cash and the mine set to create 140 Hills jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue, it’s essential that the proposal is assessed on all its merits and risks.
Most farmers, tourism operators and residents would likely oppose a mine next to them – regardless of where they lived or the broader benefits of the mine – so it’s important that a decision is made based on the greatest good for the entire State.
Parts of the Strathalbyn community were also outraged when Terramin proposed the Angas Zinc mine several years ago and – with significant water miscalculations aside – the project turned out to be far less disruptive to normal life than some in the community had anticipated.
However, with the Hills emerging as one of the world’s great wine regions, and with tourism growing, the need to prevent long-term detrimental impact to the local water source in Woodside is not negotiable.
If there is any realistic risk to the water supply, the Government must not short-sightedly take the sugar-hit cash injection that the mine will provide, but rather protect an $800m industry that will be around for decades to come.