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Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

Editorial – Mining is back, baby! 

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Anandan Mcewen up a pole at Bentley blockade. Photo David Lowe.

Nearly ten years ago in 2015, junior coal seam gas (CSG) miner Metgasco was paid out handsomely by the state government ($25m of your tax money) after its approval to frack Bentley, near Lismore, was fiercely fought off by thousands of well-organised protesters. 

The community were passionate about protecting Country from the known harmful environmental destruction CSG causes. It could have got a lot worse, as just before the government caved, hundreds of riot squad police had been deployed to the region, ready to restore order. 

NSW Labor blamed the NSW coalition and the NSW coalition blamed NSW Labor for allowing it to happen. Solemn promises were made to not permit it again. 

It was a PR catastrophe for out of touch governments, yet a victory for those who value this beautiful part of the planet.

Benny Zable and the Angel of Bentley. Could it be there will be more mining licences approved in our region? Photo Tree Faerie.

Well guess what? North coast mining is back!

As one example, governments have quietly approved mineral, coal and petroleum extraction licences for large parcels of land west of Lismore.

According to www.minview.geoscience.nsw.gov.au, Filipino miner Geogen had its EL9545 licence approved on March 30, 2023, on land that stretches from south of Casino to north of Kyogle. 

It goes as far west as Bonalbo. There is very little online info available on this company or project.

Further west, there are large areas earmarked around Drake and Tenterfield. And when zooming out on the entire state, there are vast areas of exploration and mining titles, mainly in the west. 

The film is on a mission to raise the awareness of the pristine beauty of the Upper Clarence region and the serious threat of mining rare earth minerals in her hills. . Image from Rivertree documentary

Proposal near Grafton

Mt Gilmore, located just 35kms west of Grafton, is under threat from a proposed copper/cobalt mine by WA-based junior miner, Corazon.

A new doco, Rivertree, explores the beauty and significance of the Clarence River, which is a major tributary for the region – see page article here. 

The film sheds light on the urgent need to safeguard precious water resources against mining threats. 

So who is Corazon? 

According to www.intelligentinvestor.com.au, the WA-based junior mining exploration company floated on the ASX on June 28, 2005 as CZN.  

The largest shareholders, according to marketindex.com.au, are institutional investors Hanking Australia Investment (2.64 per cent), BNP Paribas Noms (2.28 per cent), and Willowood Corporate Services (1.95 per cent). Some of the major insider shareholders are its CEO and board members, according to www.tipranks.com.

Corazon’s MD Brett Smith told JustStocks one month ago – available on YouTube – that they are looking at a 2km strike target at Mt Gilmore. 

Smith says the surrounding areas are ‘farms and cattle stations’, and they will be approached first to ‘talk with them and tell them what we’d like to do’. 

‘We will announce to the market what the outcome is’, he added. 

Their target commodities – nickel, copper and cobalt – are earmarked for the booming rechargeable battery sector.

Screenings of Rivertree will be held at Lennox Head Cultural Centre, on Thursday, May 30 from 6.30pm, and Bangalow A&I Hall, on Thursday, June 6 from 5.30pm. 

For tickets visit www.humanitix.com and search for the screening.

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  1. We need EVs, solar panels and storage batteries for every house. But no one had better dare go looking for the stuff to make them! We need industries to replace the income (too meagre I know) and employment of coal and gas but no one should dare explore any. Best to cry loudly at the slightest suggestion thereof!

    Perhaps we should wait for the exactly, where and hows, the EISs, the final approvals before leaping at the opportunity for shock and horror and drawing equivalence with CSG.

  2. There is a mining boom all over the country. Rare earths here, renewables there, base minerals and coal and CSG everywhere. Decarbonisation is pushing the trend but can all those minerals be needed at once? Why is there a rush to have new CSG and coal exploration licenses approved and new mining leases applied for – even though some will never be actually mined? I wonder if it involves having a bob each way? Maybe its economic to mine and maybe its economic to think of selling the leases and licenses back to the government when the political climate is right. Companies can wait for compensation packages as the call to reduce burning and production fossil fuels inevitably increases with CO2 levels. So why not have one? Approving fossil fuel licenses ATM is creating a giant liability on the public with every new approval. Good strategy for mining cos bad for moving forward with carbon reduction and for society as a whole.


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