About the River
The Deua River – known to some locals as the ‘Dewey’, or to townsfolk as the Moruya River – is the lifeblood of the Eurobodalla Shire, a quaint but compromised paradise on the South Coast of New South Wales. The Deua supplies the shire’s seasonal population of some 30-100,000 people with 70-80% of its drinking/everything water, via a pumping station just upstream of the township of Moruya. Further upstream, the river supplies a thread of riverside properties and small agricultural projects with untreated (and in some cases unfiltered) drinking water via private pumps and water tanks. Locals have trusted the quality of the water – between the bouts of natural sedimentation caused by floods – for generations, just as the indigenous Yuin People did for millennia before colonisation.
People drink this water directly, and have done so since prehistory. We also cook with it, shower in it, wash with it, farm with it, swim and fish in it. Our skin is permeated with Deua riverwater – silky with the oil of eucalyptus leaves – and our blood is mingled with it and the food it helps to grow. The Deua also flows through a national park of the same name, and supports countless native species of flora and fauna, dozens of which are listed as threatened or critically endangered under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
None of the above has made Deua River or its tributaries safe from extractive industry, or worthy of protection by our state and federal governments…
About the Mine
The Dargues Gold Mine is adjacent to the town of Majors Creek, New South Wales. It’s also at the headwaters of the Eurobodalla Shire’s primary drinking water source (the Deua River), organic agricultural projects (the Araluen Valley), and a sensitive riparian corridor (through the Deua National Park). Its presence affects us all.
The need for an alternative, independent, non-profit source of information on the Dargues Gold Mine has arisen from three converging factors:
- The mine’s potential for environmental and economic destruction.
- The undermining of democracy and environmental justice, via the de-facto partnership of the proponent (the mining company of the day) and elements of the state and federal governments (including representatives of the NSW Department of Planning, NSW Planning Assessment Commission, and the Federal Department of Environment).
- The obscurity of official information sources and their contents, as far as the general public is concerned.
About This Website
This website will serve as a platform for the ongoing scrutiny of the Dargues Gold Mine, and its relationship to assessment authorities, for as long as is necessary.
My research, experience, observations and disposition have led me to be critical of the mine, its proponents (the various mining companies who have owned the mine site), and the government departments who have enabled it to proceed. I object to the mine and the process by which it arrived. However, I do not claim to have a definitive perspective on its existence. I encourage readers to do their own research, make up their own minds and take part in discussion and actions as they see fit. You can access the pro-mine narrative via the company website or the departmental links provided under ‘Background Information’ below.
This site was founded by myself, Tom Wells. I am a member of the Dargues Community Consultative Committee (CCC), although I do not speak on their behalf. The committee is just a handful of concerned citizens with whom the mining company is obliged to meet on a quarterly basis. Part of the Committee’s role is to keep the community informed, and this website is my answer to that role.
NSW Department of Planning: Dargues Reef Gold Mine http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=7162. This is the official archive of documentation on the Dargues Gold Mine, form the original application through to the current modification (Mod 3, version 2). It includes Environmental Assessments (also known as Environmental Impact Statements) produced by the mining company, submissions by government agencies, political parties, community groups and the general public. It also includes the company’s responses to those submissions, the Land and Environment Court Order of 2012, Recommendations from the Department of Planning, determinations by the Planning Assessment Commission, and more.
Diversified Minerals: Dargues Reef Gold Mine Community Consultative Committee (CCC): http://www.divminerals.com.au/dargues-gold-mine/community/community-consultative-committee/. Here on the mining company’s website you will find current CCC membership and the minutes of previous meetings, dating back to December 2011. Elsewhere on this website you will also find all of the publications and licences held by the current mine operators, Diversified Minerals. Other companies in their limited-liability corporate structure (represented by the same individuals) include PYBAR, Big Island Mining and Unity Mining.