Fool's gold - natural gem faces mining
A mining licence gives the go-ahead for a gold mine to dig up an area of Wombat State Forest.
The VNPA joins the chorus of local community voices who are appalled and angered that over 8000 hectares of the forest and surrounding areas are under exploration licences.
And what concerns us is the fact there are mine exploration licences on a further 15,000 hectares.
A few years ago, the VNPA conducted a detailed study of Wombat State Forest and found it to have high conservation significance, more so for the who's who of threatened species that call it home.
Moreover, the area is an important tourist destination for regional Victoria, and open cut mines will do little to enhance its appeal to visitors.
The impact of mining
But Australia is in the middle of a mining boom. How bad could it be if Victoria got its share?
The issue of mining taps into the heart of economic prosperity but it also taps into the life blood of a natural environment already under strain.
Mining in Wombat will result in:
- Water contamination.
- Loss of habitat and biodiversity.
- Sedimentation of rivers within catchment areas.
- Increased heavy vehicle traffic requiring wider roads in forested areas.
- Impacts on the local community of increased heavy.
- Vehicles on minor roads.
- Loss of access to areas of public land under mining activity.
A hole lot of trouble
The VNPA is speaking out and calling for the following actions to be taken:
- The VNPA believes that the Victorian Government should not allow a company exploit this important publicly owned natural area for mining.
- We recommend that at the very least, Wombat State Forest should be protected under the National Parks Act as a State Park. This move would give greater protection to its natural values and safeguard it against mining.
- The Victorian government should declare an immediate moratorium on all mining within the Wombat State Forest and similar high conservation areas.
- The Victorian Government should instruct the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) to investigate and recommend future land use and boundaries for additional conservation reserves or parks for publicly owned forests across central Victoria.
We ask you to join us to send a clear message to the Baillieu Government to rule out mining in high conservation value state forests and rescind the mining licence MIN5349 for mining in the Wombat State Forest.
To send a clear message to the Victorian Government, write to State Minister for Energy and Resources Nicholas Kotsiras.
While you will want to add your own thoughts, you may wish to use some of the information we have given you in our mining in the Wombat fact sheet.
Level 2, 3 Treasury Place, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Phone (03) 9938 5963
Fax (03) 9938 5962