Mine ac­cused of ‘skip­ping steps’

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

A MIN­ING company has launched its own in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims it il­le­gally cleared bush­land north of Monto for a new ac­cess road.

Gra­ziers Rob and Na­dia Camp­bell be­lieve Goondicum Re­sources did not have ap­proval to bull­doze the land to cre­ate the 800m x 50m ac­cess road near their prop­erty.

“The clear­ing … was not au­tho­rised and we were not con­sulted and the ar­eas we wanted to see pre­served were not pre­served,” Mrs Camp­bell said.

The Goondicum Re­sources il­menite mine has a lease on the Camp­bell’s land north of Monto, and the two gra­ziers be­lieve the mine skipped steps when clear­ing land.

“The clear­ing which oc­curred on our prop­erty, Goondicum, was not au­tho­rised and we were not con­sulted,” Mrs Camp­bell said.

“But (what we be­lieve is) il­le­gal clear­ing was on a prop­erty ad­ja­cent to us.”

The duo is not look­ing for com­pen­sa­tion but is call­ing for min­ing to be car­ried out in an en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able way.

ROB and Na­dia Camp­bell want a line drawn in the sand.

The Monto gra­ziers be­lieve Goondicum Re­sources, which op­er­ates an il­menite mine on their grazing prop­erty north of Monto, il­le­gally cleared bush­land to cre­ate an 800m-long road – part of a new 22.5km ac­cess route.

Goondicum’s CEO Mark McCauley did not wish to com­ment when asked by the Times if the company was seek­ing ret­ro­spec­tive ap­proval for the clear­ing.

How­ever, Mr McCauley said Goondicum Re­sources were un­der­tak­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the road con­struc­tion project.

“We re­gret any angst caused by ac­tiv­i­ties and will work with all stake­hold­ers to min­imise this im­pact,” he said.

Mrs Camp­bell said they be­lieved Mr McCauley had told other me­dia the company was in the process of seek­ing ret­ro­spec­tive ap­proval.

“It’s un­ac­cept­able if the mine is al­lowed to get ret­ro­spec­tive ap­proval,” she said.

“What’s the point in hav­ing an ap­provals process then?

“We were not op­posed to this road; we only wanted it

Na­dia Camp­bell

We were not op­posed to this road; we only wanted it done in a way where things could be pro­tected

done in a way where things could be pro­tected.

“There is no way to tell what was there be­fore and that’s the prob­lem. Ret­ro­spec­tive ap­proval is not go­ing to be able to ac­count for that.”

The Camp­bells said they were not out to seek com­pen­sa­tion but wanted to see min­ing com­pa­nies kept in check by politi­cians. “There needs to be ac­count­abil­ity and no ret­ro­spec­tive ap­proval. “They need to re­store and re­ha­bil­i­tate any­thing re­quired. And they have to make sure this can never hap­pen again,” Mrs Camp­bell said.

“We are not op­posed to min­ing.

“We un­der­stand that peo­ple want some­thing good to hap­pen for Monto, it just needs to be done in line with ap­provals.

“If the en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity of our prop­erty is up­held, we can con­tinue this for another 100-200 years,” she said.

“It’s a for­ward think­ing thing. If the gov­ern­ment’s not tak­ing steps to pre­serve prop­er­ties for the next gen­er­a­tion then what will we have?”

The gra­ziers said they loved Monto and tried to support the town by spend­ing lo­cally and em­ploy­ing up to five lo­cals.

They have made in­quiries at the Depart­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment and Bund­aberg’s State Land As­set Man­age­ment fol­low­ing the clear­ing.

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