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HELP PROTECT PRECIOUS LAKE COWAL
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NEW **Letter to the Editor Action Kit **
Here in New South Wales, Australia, Lake Cowal is in trouble.
Lake Cowal is the Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation.
This precious wetland is threatened by a cyanide leaching gold mine project.
The project would include a 1 kilometre wide open pit on the edge of the Lake.
The wetlands are home to precious birds and other species.
Lake Cowal is on the Directory of Important Wetlands.
Lake Cowal is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
Please send the letter below or a modified version to:firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Ian.Campbell@deh.gov.au with a cc to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org,
Or post to the address shown below. Thanks!
Chinese Translation French Translation German Translation
Premier Bob Carr
Macquarie Street, Sydney 2000
(Please also send a copy to Mr.Gregory Wilkins, CEO at Barrick Gold Corporation Royal Bank Plaza - Suite 2700 Toronto, Canada M5J 2J3)
Dear Premier Carr,
Please halt the gold mining project planned for Lake Cowal, New South Wales, Australia.
The Australian Heritage Commission has suggested that the NSW government consider the Lake Cowal region for Ramsar listing. Lake Cowal is included in Australias Register of the National Estate and its Directory of Important Wetlands. The National Trust of Australia (NSW) has also listed Lake Cowal as a Landscape Conservation Area.
In fact, Lake Cowal is habitat for a high diversity of waterbirds. with 172 species of birds recorded including migratory waders protected under international migratory bird treaties such as the the China-Australia Migratory Birds Agreement, (CAMBA)and the Japan- Australia Migratory Birds Agreement, (JAMBA).
It is unacceptable to risk cyanide spills, arsenic seepage and heavy metals, to name but a few of the possible consequences, in these important, sensitive wetlands. A spill of cyanide- laced wastewater could severely damage the entire wetland and related waterways. With the region being prone to floods, these sorts of risks are vastly increased.
We understand that the Cowal Gold Project has been through a couple of Commission of Inquiries and yet still the tailings ponds are designed in such a way that does not mimise impact on birdlife. In fact, the second development consent allows for the increase in the size of the ponds which is well known to pose more danger for waterbirds than small state-of-the-art tailings ponds. The Environmental Impact Study also minimises the threat of arsenic and the threats to wildlife.
We support the Wiradjuri Traditional Owners who have declared their opposition to the Lake Cowal gold mine project. This region is often called "the Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation". Barrick Gold now has a "Consent to Destroy" from the National Parks & Wildlife Service of New South Wales to destroy the Aboriginal site including Aboriginal artefacts, scar trees and other cultural objects.
The state government of New South Wales and Barrick Gold should reconsider this undertaking. We believe that there are alternative means of revenue generation possible for this region that would benefit both land and people.
The environmental and human rights record of Barrick Gold has already been marred by a number of infamous incidents. Examples are the 1997 civil suit filed by the US Department of Justice, the State of South Dakota and the Cheyenne River Sioux against Homestake for heavy metal pollution of Whitewood Creek, South Dakota; the May 1998 spill of cyanide-laced tailings from the Homestake Mine into Gold Run Creek, South Dakota; and current allegations against Barrick in Chile, Tanzania, Peru and the US.
We urge you to take measures to halt the Lake Cowal project forthwith.
Clean water is more precious than gold.
Please advise us of your decision at your soonest convenience.
YOUR GROUP or AFFILIATION if you have one
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