Social Impact Assessments (SIA) for Resource Projects in NSW

Please find below some thoughts on the new Social Impact Assessment (SIA) guidelines for mining companies (http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/socialimpactassessment).

Definition of Social Impact: ‘Consequences experienced by people due to changes associated with a state significant resource project’ (Department of Planning & Environment: Social Impact Assessment Guideline). The Department’s definition of social impact (SIA guideline, part 1.1) is broad and includes impacts on physical and mental health, material prosperity and the aesthetics of our surrounds. Another way to think about social impact is as the human experience of environmental and economic impacts. A definition of the activities covered under ‘resource projects’ is also given (footnotes, p. 2), and includes: mining (minerals, including coal), petroleum production (oil and coal seam gas), and other extractive industry (basic geological resources such as sand, gravel, clay, rock). In all instances, the phases of extraction, processing, and ‘rehabilitation’ of the land are included in the definition of a ‘resource project’. Continue reading “Social Impact Assessments (SIA) for Resource Projects in NSW”

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23rd Community Consultative Committee Meeting (21/03/2017): questions for the mining company

I raised the following with Diversified Minerals ahead of the 23rd Community Consultative Committee (CCC) meeting, which was held at the mine site near Major’s Creek on 21/03/2017. The company’s responses (and non-responses) will be published in the minutes, which are to be posted on the Diversified Minerals website, here. Continue reading “23rd Community Consultative Committee Meeting (21/03/2017): questions for the mining company”

Dargues Engineering Contractor Knight Piésold involved in Canadian Tailings Spill

What does this have to do with the Dargues Gold Mine?

Knight Piésold are the engineering contractors responsible for the design of the Dargues Gold Mine’s Tailings Storage Facility (TSF). Almost 900,000 tonnes of tailings will be stored in perpetuity in Knight Piésold’s TSF at the headwaters of the Palerang / Eurobodalla drinking water catchment. Continue reading “Dargues Engineering Contractor Knight Piésold involved in Canadian Tailings Spill”

Dargues Reef Gold Mine, Modification 3: Impacts on Species

The following is an open letter (April 2016) addressed to the Department of Environment, ahead of their assessment of Mod 3 under the EPBC Act – the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act. Submissions close today (17/08/2016). Continue reading “Dargues Reef Gold Mine, Modification 3: Impacts on Species”

How to Engage with the Material

There’s no way around it: if you want to write a submission or otherwise oppose misguided mining development, you have to read the documents exhibited by the proponent (the mining company). This is difficult and time consuming. Still reading? Good. The proponent’s own publications are the single best source of ammunition for you to oppose them with. Read with a critical mind, the company’s own documents arm you with detailed knowledge of the project, and the pathology that drives it. Continue reading “How to Engage with the Material”

Business as Usual: Modification 3 Approved by Planning Assessment Commission

Modification 3 has just been approved by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC): http://www.pac.nsw.gov.au/projects/2016/06/dargues-reef-gold-mine-modification-3. This determination goes against almost unanimous objection from the 23 speakers at the meeting in Braidwood, as well as some 380 written objections (including the two exhibitions of the modification; with and without cyanide processing). As compared to 65 public submissions in support for the first exhibition, and zero in support for the second. 13 community (‘special interest’) groups and 2 shire councils (Palerang and Eurobodalla) also objected, versus 1 group in support. But the determination comes as no surprise. The PAC systematically ignores the public will and complies with recommendations from the Department of Planning, as revealed by David Shoebridge in this article. The original Dargues approval (September 2011), in which the PAC sat and ‘listened’ to seven hours of public objection before leaving town and signing their names to the mine, is another case in point.

What Now?