Unity dismisses Eurobodalla council submission

Unity Mining has said that Eurobodalla Shire Council’s draft submission to the Dargues Gold Mine public exhibition process is based on flawed evidence.

Unity CEO Andrew McIlwain said the GHD report that forms the basis of both Eurobodalla’s and Palerang’s submissions has let both councils down.

“The GHD report commissioned by both councils is fundamentally flawed in content and process,” Mr McIlwain said .

“Aside from factual errors and a lack of understanding of the planning process, the 

GHD draft on which this submission is based, was produced without viewing key documentation and prior to a site visit or a briefing from us, the proponent.

“This has left the report littered with errors and false assumptions.”

Mr McIlwain also said he was shocked to see Eurobodalla’s draft submission draw comparisons between the Dargues proposal and a recent tragedy in Colorado, USA. There, the Animus River was polluted by discharge from a disused gold mine.

“We’ve all seen the terrible images from that tragedy," he said.

"It is heart breaking. But drawing a link to the Dargues proposal lacks professionalism.

“I think this comparison is indicative of the Council's outdated perception of gold mining. "The tragic event was from a mine developed in the 1800s and closed in the 1920s.

"It’s one of thousands of mines in the region from over 100 years ago which have left some terrible environmental scars.

“The processes and engineering proposed at Dargues are state of the art. Judging the merit of our proposal by the actions of American gold miners from over a century ago is not OK. 

“It’s like refusing fly in a 747 because the performance of the Wright Brother’s first plane. 

“The technology that goes into a mine like ours is light years ahead, and so are our own values.

"I’m not interested in economic outcomes that don’t also preserve the environment and deliver sound social returns to the community. 

"The Councils submission also asserts that in 2011 it agreed to discontinue proceedings in the Land and Environment Court on the condition that mine operators did not use cyanide at the project site. 

“That is false. The use of cyanide was not part of the original project application and to imply so is an attempt to fuel the perception that we’re deliberately deceiving the public.

“I understand the GHD report and the Council’s own submission are quite emotive.

I appreciate much of this emotion stems from the perceived breach of trust – the fact that we’re revisiting this project at all and considering the inclusion of cyanide.

“Yet it's not a request we have made lightly nor without transparency. This is an open and honest conversation that we’ve been having since late 2014. I have always endeavoured to conduct that conversation with integrity.

"I’ve availed myself and staff to answer any questions, and been open to 

any suggestions that could improve the project."

Related coverage: Palerang mine letter

Related coverage: Greens councillor Harding turns heat on MP

Related coverage: Eurobodalla Council general manager damns mine

Related coverage: Unity Mining fights back: ‘Ignore report’

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