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17 November 2006
Office Occupation at Oricas Head office in Melbourne

7 November 2006 Mining Company's Gross Use of River Water Is Left Out Of Water Debate

29 October 2006  Unfolding environmental catastrophe in the heart of the fragile Murray-Darling Basin

25 October 2006 Gold mine operator agrees to provide water to farmers

24 October 2006 Landholders monitor falling underground water level (and they wonder if it has anything to do with the Cowal Gold Project?!)

18 October 2006 Govt dept rejects mine water use claims. Orange News

29 September 2006 Premier to open Lake Cowal Gold Mine

23 August 2006 Walk Against Cyanide (W.A.C.) is carrying a message of support for the Wiradjuri Traditional Owners and the Coalition to Protect Lake Cowal, who have been fighting to protect Lake Cowal in central NSW from devastation from a cyanide-leach open-cut gold mine.

July 2006 What is the real price of gold? Case Study: Lake Cowal
A collaborative project between The Mineral Policy Institute, UTS Online Journalism 1 and UTS Shopfront.

5 July 2006 "There is Death in them thar' Pits" Canada's Barrick Gold in Tanzania The Dominion, News from the Grassroots by Tracy Glynn

June 4 2006 Two Perth Based Mining Giants Ignore Traditional Elders

27 April 2006 Fears raised over cyanide transport Blue Mountains Gazette by Jacqui Knox

21 April 2006 Cyanide Watch to protest for ban in Dubbo ABC Western Plains NSW

21 April 2006 Cobb condemns mine protesters Daily Liberal by Jeremy Scott

17 April 2006 RAIN Corroborree media release from Friends of the Earth Australia

16 April 2006 Eight arrests after goldmine raid - See also Indymedia Perth and Green Left Weekly article

13 April 2006 Modern Midas Men and the Threat of Cyanide

12 April 2006 Fool’s gold: the fight to protect Lake Cowal from Green Left Weekly, by Natalie Lowrey of Friends of the Earth Australia

7 April 2006 Cyanide route revealed - potential disaster for local communities

5 April 2006 Miner rejects flood study, native title claims


30 March 2006 Protesters crank up anti-gold mine campaign as gold pour imminent at Lake Cowal

23 March 2006. 10:40am (AEDT) abc news Greens Want Answers to Cyanide Transport Questions

22 March 2006 Interview on The Wire: Lake Cowal at risk on International Water Day 

22 March 2006 International Water Day : Talking Cyanide

21 March 2006 National Day Action for Water - Stop the Cyanide!

The Sydney office of the NSW Minister for Minerals Resources and also Natural Resources, the Hon Ian McDonald, will be the target of environmental activists celebrating the National Day of Action for Water.

noon Wednesday 22 March 2006
Level 6 / 201 Elizabeth Street Sydney

The controversial Barrick Gold mine near Lake Cowal is about to start up. See aerial photos taken 9 March @

The mine, which has been consistently opposed by the Wiradjuri Native Titleholders and major environmental groups, will pump to the pit and permanently poison 3,650 mega litres of artesian water a year for the next 13 years.

To extract the gold the Lake Cowal mine will also consume 6,090 tonnes of sodium cyanide a year for 13 years. This cyanide will be carted to Lake Cowal from the Orica manufacturing plant in Gladstone, Queensland, 1600 km away.

But the Minister is refusing to reveal the cyanide route. (See response to the question put in the NSW Legislative Council 8 March by Green MLC Lee Rhiannon @

"The transport of these huge tonnages of cyanide represents a major hazard to other road users and the communities and water ways along the route", said Graeme Dunstan of Cyanide Watch.

"Citizens have a right to know the scale and the nature of the hazard their government has committed them to," said Mr Dunstan. "We are demanding that the Minister make information about cyanide routes public knowledge."

The protest action will be supported by and Friends of the Earth Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Further Information

21 Mar 2006 Protect Lake Cowal National Day of Action on International Water Day

All supporters of the Campaign to Protect Lake Cowal, will be activating across the nation tomorrow.

Wednesday 22nd of March Is International Water Day and supporters of this culurally and environmentally significant wetland will be gathering at Parliament House in Melbourne, 11am, to march through the city and end with a performance in front of the State Gallery, St Kilda Road at midday.

Don't miss this chance to see a beautiful spectacle and learn more about
the campaign to PROTECT LAKE COWAL!

Further Information:

3 Feb 2006 Indigenous Group Warns Miner of Lake Cowal Costs
Wiradjuri Elder Slams Tender For Mine Waste Management Contract
21 October 2005

Wiradjuri Elder, Neville “Chappy” Williams, has slammed the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) for submitting a tender for the mine waste management contract at the Lake Cowal gold mine.

“Shame on Percy Knight and on the WCC for their latest ridiculous, dangerous action. They’ve no idea of the environmental and health risks involved in mine waste management,” Mr Williams said.

“The waste from the Cowal Gold Project is sure to be toxic, including cyanide compounds and who knows what else. At this stage no-one can know exactly what will be in the waste. Nor do we know exactly where it’ll be dumped.

“If this tender goes ahead, Percy Knight will be sitting snugly in his Condo office while our people are exposed to toxic chemicals which can have a range of health effects such as cancer. Also the workers could develop long-term ill health, such as lung diseases, from other mining activities. Next thing Barrick will have Jacky Jacky mixing the cyanide used to remove the gold from the ore! This is just another cynical action from multinational companies that are only after quick profits for the benefit of overseas shareholders.

“It’s time Aboriginal people stopped doing the dirty work for the greedy, particularly multinationals. We should not be putting our people at risk of long-term health problems from handling waste and doing other mining work. People in our community are sick enough already with illnesses like cancer, diabetes, heart and kidney disease.

“The WCC is complicit in the destruction of our cultural heritage. The work on the Cowal Gold Mine has already destroyed many, many artefacts, marked trees and sacred Aboriginal sites that are thousands of years old.

“The Native Title agreement with Barrick, that has allowed all this to happen, was shonky from the start. It was only signed by a handful of Wiradjuri people and wasn’t authorised by the majority of Wiradjuri with ties to the Lake Cowal area. Around 160 Wiradjuri signed a petition against the mine some years ago and there is still strong opposition to it by the majority who’ve been sold out by the few.

“The mine only has a life of about 13 years. What’s important is the future for our people, especially our kids. We need long-term ecologically sustainable jobs based on our culture, not short-term fixes. You don’t see Lake Cowal mentioned any more as a place for recreation such as fishing. People in the Lake Cowal region should be very worried about this mine and its likely consequences such as damaged and destroyed environment, polluted rivers and groundwater, increased greenhouse gas emissions, toxic dust, sick animals, birds and people”, Mr Williams said.

Contact: Neville Williams 0416 316 774

Friday 30 September 2005

Supporters from around Australia for the Protection of Lake Cowal, both indigenous and non-indigenous, are calling for the removal of Section 90 from the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

They will be gathering outside the Newcastle and Sydney CBD offices of the Department of Environment and Conservation next week in Solidarity with Traditional Owners of the Wiradjuri Nation and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs who have called for the removal of section 90 and other associated sections of the NPW Act 1974.

‘With the demand to remove the current legislation is also the demand to draft a new Aboriginal Heritage Act’, said Lake Cowal Campaigner, Mia Pepper. ‘The current legislation is unworkable and racially discriminatory.’

For the past five years Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville Williams, has been in the courts in his endeavor to hold off the destruction of Significant Aboriginal Sites. Mr Williams has been recently represented in the NSW court of appeals by top Sydney Silk Tim Robertson SC.who has claimed that the Department of Environment and Conservation have no statutory power to issue Consents to Destroy Aboriginal Culture.

The supporters are also calling for the artifacts removed from Lake Cowal to be returned to the Traditional Owners, the Mooka/Kalara United Families who are the Native Title claimant group for Lake Cowal.

It is estimated that in the last 30 years over 1000 consents have been issued to deface, disturb or destroy Aboriginal Sites in NSW.

Lake Cowal is in central western NSW and is home to the controversial Lake Cowal gold mine licensed to Canadian Gold giant Barrick.

Comments and Interviews available
Mia Pepper, Lake Cowal Campaign m. 0415 380 808
Natalie Lowrey, Friends of the Earth Australia m. 0431 194 083
Neville Williams, Mooka Traditional Owners Council within the Wiradjuri Nation m: 0416 316 774

September, 2005

A challenge by Traditional Owner, Wiradjuri Elder, Neville Williams is be heard in the NSW court of appeal. This may cause a major hold up to the
controversial Lake Cowal Gold Mine in Central West NSW.

Over the last five years the Lake Cowal Gold Project has been subjected to protracted lititgation by Mr Williams in his endeavour to hold off the
destruction of Significant Aboriginal Sites. The Challenge in the court of appeal concerns the construction of 130k Electricity Transmission line (ETL)
without whih the mine would be unable to operate. The appeal follows a decision made in the Land and Environment court which declared that the
Consents to Destroy Aboriginal Sites on the ETL ROute are invalid.

Mr Williams is being represented by top Sydney Silk Tim Robertson SC who has upped-the-anti by claiming that the Department of Environment and
Conservation have no statutory power to issue Consents to Destroy Aboriginal Culture.

The three judges, inc Chief Judge Spiegleman were told that all major infrastructure projects in NSW should be halted if it were found that Consents to Destroy could not be issues. It is estimated that in the last 30 years over 1000 consents have been issud to destroy Aboriginal Sites in NSW.

Traditional Owners and the Dep't of Aboriginbal Affairs have called for the removal of the legislation and a new Aboriginal Heritage Act be drafted as the current legislation is unworkable and racially discriminatory.


On June 10th, 2005, at 12:30pm, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) will join a representative from the Australian "Coalition To Protect Lake Cowal" to deliver a statement to transnational mining company Barrick Gold Corporation, located at: BCE Place, Canada Trust Tower, 161 Bay Street, Suite 3700, Toronto.

The statement, signed by Wiradjuri Traditional Owner Neville 'Chappy' Williams and a coalition of 25 Australian organizations, is demanding an end to all operations at Barrick's 2650 hectare mining lease at Lake Cowal, situated in Western New South Wales, Australia.

Lake Cowal is included in the Australian Register of the National Estate and it is listed on Australia‚s „Directory of Important Wetlands. It is home to endangered flora and fauna species and many of the 277 bird species found here are listed in two International Migratory Birds Agreements with China and Japan (CAMBA & JAMBA).

This lake is the sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation, part of the central ceremonial ground of one of the largest indigenous nations of Australia. During the mine construction, numerous ancient artifacts and sacred sites were destroyed or removed from the area .

There is great concern from traditional owners and supporters that the mine will irreparably damage the fragile and important ecosystem of the lake. The mining lease, situated in integral part of Australia‚s Murray-Darling basin includes two cyanide tailing dams and an open-pit, 1km wide and 325 meters deep.

"Don‚t desecrate our dreaming site, don‚t mine our sacred site. I have fought Barrick in the courts for over two years. Now it is time for us all to work
together to stop this disaster waiting to happen" stated Traditional Owner, Neville 'Chappy' Williams.

"As a worldwide commodity, water is more precious than gold. Yet Barrick has been granted a license to take 17 million litres of water a day in a region suffering severe drought", added Natalie Wasley (from Australia) , who will deliver the declaration.

This is the third „notice to quit‰ Barrick Gold has been served by Wiradjuri traditional owners and supporters.

For more information contact Hazem at OCAP: 416 925 6939

13 April 2005

Greens MP and mining spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has called on Country Energy to pay an Aboriginal elder for his work monitoring the collection and relocation of Aboriginal artefacts facing destruction from the construction of the electricity transmission line to service the Lake Cowal gold mine.

If Country Energy can afford to pay lawyers from the big end of town to write letters saying Aboriginal elder Mr Neville Williams won’t be paid, and is willing to cream a profit from constructing the line at the expense of Aboriginal heritage, then they can certainly afford to pay Mr Williams, Ms Rhiannon said.

Mr Neville Williams is participating in the five day project now underway. But as a pensioner, he can’t afford a motel and is sleeping in his car.

Country Energy have said that they’re not strictly obliged to pay Mr Williams. But last year they did pay him for his survey work and other Aboriginal monitors from local land councils are currently being paid for the same work.

I can only speculate that Mr Williams is being punished for his past work in taking court action to protect Wiradjuri heritage and for obtaining independent expert advice that shows the archaeological survey commissioned by Country Energy to be woefully inadequate.

Mr Williams has found artefacts, sites and scarred trees where Country Energy’s archaeologist said there were none.

Mr Williams sees it as his cultural duty to attend the site where 1,000s of years worth of Aboriginal cultural heritage faces destruction from the construction.

This treatment of Mr Williams is just not fair, said Ms Rhiannon.

More information: Kristian Bolwell, 9230 3551, 0411638320

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon today urged the Carr Government to use World Wetlands Day (today, February 2) to halt the construction of a potentially destructive cyanide-based gold mine at one of NSW’s most important wetlands, Lake Cowal.

“World Wetlands Day would be an ideal time for the Carr Government to halt this project before it gets underway and causes irreversible ecological damage,” Ms Rhiannon said.

“Lake Cowal is listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands of Australia and meets at least three * if not more * of the criteria for a Ramsar listing as an internationally significant wetland.

“Although Lake Cowal goes through periodic dry spells, this doesn’t mitigate its vital importance to the ecology of western NSW, particularly as a habitiat for thousands of migratory birds.

“A large number of migratory birds have disappeared in the past decade as agricultural practices, climate change and other factors have curtailed their habitats. Barrick Gold’s mine at Lake Cowal will only exacerbate this.

“The mine uses cyanide to extract the gold, yet there is no cyanide management plan available at this stage. Water systems are under threat from leakage, seepage and spills * as has happened many times with cyanide mining in Australia and around the world.

“A cyanide spill or seepage could potentially damage the Upper Lachlan Groundwater Area, an aquefer which is earmarked to provide water to communities in western NSW in future,” Ms Rhiannon said.

Hans van Leeuwen
Media Adviser, Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon
Tel: (61 2) 9230 3551
Fax: (61 2) 9230 3550
Mob: 0425 310 562

Article from the Forbes Advocate, NSW
Thursday, 11 November 2004

A bid to ban cyanide-based mining has been overturned in NSW Parliament but the Lake Cowal Gold Project has suffered a setback in the construction of a transmission line at the Lake Cowal gold mine.

The Land and Environment Court ruled last week Barrick Gold should stop building a transmission line at its future Lake Cowal mine because it had not followed the correct development application process.

However, Barrick Gold issued a press release saying its mine construction was on schedule and on budget.

On announcing the commencement of construction in January this year, Barrick estimated it would be pouring the first gold in early 2006.

Nine months into the construction phase, the project is meeting all its milestones.

"We expect everything to be in order for first production in early 2006, as planned," Richard Weston said.

Major works have included an 11 kilometre public road diversion and travelling stock reserve around the boundary of the mining lease, drilling and equipping of four water bores.

Barrick appointed Aker Kvearner to design and build the processing plant and have 70 staff working on final plant engineering and procuring materials.

The company has built a water pipeline to deliver water from the bore site in Forbes Shire and bund wall to isolate mine site water from the lake.

The first two tailings storage dams have been completed as have a series of surface water diversion channels and water storage dams around the onshore portion of the mining lease to make sure water from outside the lease is diverted around the mine to drain naturally into the lake.

Earthworks have begun at the plant site to prepare for concrete pouring this month, the next major milestone for the project.

The Cowal gold mine is estimated to be worth over $300 million in investment to the local region.

Cowal Gold General Manager, Richard Weston said he was very pleased with progress.

The project delivers 350 construction jobs and 250 permanent jobs on completion.

Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon, however, has expressed her disappointment her bill to ban cyanide leaching in NSW mines was quashed by the Nationals and Labor.

Ms Rhiannon said the gold project would only provide short-term jobs and many of those would go to people from outside the central west.

Ms Rhiannon welcomed the Land and Environment Court's decision to halt construction of a transmission line at the Lake Cowal gold mine.

"This is a major victory for the indigenous Wiradjuri community, and a vindication for their tireless campaign to protect Lake Cowal," Ms Rhiannon said.

"The Greens hope this decision encourages indigenous communities across NSW to fight for their rights when developers and miners ignore proper process."

November 9, 2004

The Carr Government and Liberal-National Party Opposition today joined forces to defeat the Greens' proposed law to ban cyanide-based mining in New South Wales.

"Labor and the Coalition have revealed that they are prepared to risk cyanide spills on rural roads and environmental devastation at places like Lake Cowal," said Greens MP Lee Rhiannon, who proposed the Bill.

"Six thousand tonnes of cyanide will be transported to the site each year from Queensland to the edge of Lake Cowal, and the risk of an accident is high. But Labor, the Liberals and the Nationals are willing to expose country communities to that risk.

"Cyanide spills have devastated rivers and ecosystems around the world, including a seepage problem revealed just last week at Kalgoorlie. But Labor, the Liberals and the Nationals are willing to expose the NSW environment to that risk.

"New bio-leaching technologies that replace cyanide technology are now in use in Brazil, Peru, Ghana and Tasmania. There is a safe way to do
this mining, but Barrick, Labor, the Liberals and the Nationals are ignoring it.

"The gold mine at Lake Cowal will provide only short-term jobs, and many of those jobs will go to people from outside the Central West. The
Greens support long-term, sustainable jobs, rather than jobs at mining operations that jeopardise safety and the environment.

"The Nationals are out of touch with rural communities on this issue. Rural people want sustainable jobs, not band-aid solutions that endanger the health of communities and the environment.

"The Greens call on the Coalition and Labor to change their stance before NSW suffers the kind of cyanide accidents and disasters that have
blighted other communities around Australia and the world," Ms Rhiannon said.


The National Party and Labor Party are making a number of false claims about cyanide leach mining and the Greens' effort to ban it.

1. Jobs
NATIONALS/LABOR CLAIM: Any move against cyanide mining will hurt employment in rural and regional Australia, particularly at the Lake
Cowal project.
THE FACTS: Many of the jobs associated with Lake Cowal will go to people from outside the Central West region, as the Environmental Impact Statement suggested. The jobs are short to medium-term, and not sustainable. The potential damage to the environment of Lake Cowal from a cyanide spill at the mine will affect long-term employment in the area.

2. Alternatives to cyanide
NATIONALS/LABOR CLAIM: Cyanide mining is the only viable technology for this kind of gold mine.
THE FACTS: This is entirely false. Bio-leaching is a cleaner, greener alternative and is already in use both overseas (Peru, Brazil, Ghana) and right here in Australia (Tasmania). The CSIRO is also conducting further research into thiosulfate leaching, another promising alternative to cyanide mining.

3. Barrick's record
Barrick Gold has conducted an extensive study on the Cowal mine's environmental impacts, and can be trusted to do the right thing.
THE FACTS: Barrick is the half-owner of the Kalgoorlie Super Pit gold mine in Western Australia. In the past fortnight, an independent review has revealed that a large area around KSP's Fimiston 1 tailings dam has been affected by increased salinity, heavy metal contamination, cyanide contamination and elevated cyanide levels in groundwater. Other miners in the vicinity are now facing contamination issues and economic losses due to the environmental impact of the Fimiston dam, and some are calling for a judicial inquiry.

Hans van Leeuwen
Media Adviser
Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon
Parliament of NSW
Macquarie St, Sydney 2000
T: (61 2) 9230 3551
F: (61 2) 9230 3550
M: 0425 310 562

Monday, 8 November 2004

Country Energy has announced plans to merge with Australian Inland Energy.

Both companies, including stakeholders, customers and employees, will meet in Broken Hill this week with a Country Energy spokesman saying the merger makes good business sense for both companies.

Country Energy is Australia's largest power network and Australian Inland has powerlines spanning 20 per cent of country New South Wales.

In other developments, Country Energy says it will now consider an appeal after the Land and Environment Court ruled construction of a powerline to the Barrick Gold mine near West Wyalong should halt.

Wiradjuri elder Neville Williams says the National Parks and Wildlife Service failed to properly consult him over the importance of cultural artefacts before it consented to Country Energy's proposal for the 1,500 kilometre line.

Last week, Justice David Lloyd found in favour of Mr Williams, saying he had been denied procedural fairness and that national parks had breached its governing legislation.

Country Energy says it is disappointed by the ruling but Indigenous Justice Advocacy Network spokesman Al Oshlack says it is a significant victory.

"Mr Williams has constantly put forward that the Aboriginal sites surrounding Lake Cowal are of significance," Mr Oshlack said.

"But at the same time national parks and wildlife and now the Department of Environment have been issuing quite a number of permits to destroy the Aboriginal artefacts and in doing so they have denied any rights to participate in these archaeological surveys."

Last Updated: 11:09:00 AM (AEDT)

November 5, 2004

Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon today welcomed the Land & Environment Court's decision to halt construction of a transmission line at the Lake Cowal gold mine.

"This is a major victory for the indigenous Wiradjuri community, and a vindication for their tireless campaign to protect Lake Cowal," Ms Rhiannon said.

"The Greens hope this decision encourages indigenous communities across NSW to fight for their rights when developers and miners ignore proper process.

"The Carr Government has a track record of responding to Court decisions of this kind by introducing laws to quash the judges' ruling.

"In the interest of the rights and well-being of the Wiradjuri community and the local environment, the Greens urge the Premier to accept the Court's decision."

Ms Rhiannon also said she was looking forward to Parliament resuming debate on her Bill to ban cyanide leach mining this Tuesday.

"I will be seeking to resume debate on my bill to ban this environmentally destructive form of mining, and I hope Labor and the Coalition will support the debate.

"I call on Labor and the Coalition to make their position clear on my Bill by allowing the Parliamentary debate to take place, and I urge them to support the ban for all future gold and silver mines," Ms Rhiannon said.

Hans van Leeuwen
Media Adviser
Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon
Parliament of NSW
Macquarie St, Sydney 2000
T: (61 2) 9230 3551
F: (61 2) 9230 3550
M: 0425 310 562

5th of November, 2004

Delays expected to cost millions and set back operation start up

Justice David Lloyd from the Land and Environment Court today handed down a decision invalidating consents and permits issued by the Department of Environment and Conservation to destroy Aboriginal objects on the proposed electricity transmission line (ETL) for the controversial Lake Cowal Gold Project.

The challenge was taken by Wiradjuri Traditional Owner Neville Williams who claimed that he had been denied procedural fairness over the issuing of the consents. Mr Williams complained that Country Energy and Dr Colin Pardoe, the consulting archaeologist for Barrick Gold, refused him access rights to investigate the Aboriginal objects which would be destroyed and/or disturbed by the construction of the ETL.

Mr Williams has engaged in numerous legal challenges in a bid to protect Aboriginal heritage from mining at Lake Cowal situated 38km north of West Wyalong in Central Western NSW.

In his judgment Lloyd J found that Mr Williams had a legitimate expectation that he would be involved in identification and assessment of the significance of Aboriginal objects within the electricity transmission line corridor which Country Energy and Dr Pardoe failed to meet. Although he was invited to make submissions Country Energy and Dr Pardoe refused to allow him to be involved in the identification and assessment process during or subsequent to the original archaeological surveys.

Canadian company Barrick Gold have submitted to the Court that delay in the construction of the electricity transmission line is likely to cost the company over a million dollars a month.

Advocate and researcher for the Indigenous Justice Advocacy Network, Al Oshlack who appeared for Mr Williams at the hearing, said today that: “This is a significant win not only for Mr Williams but for many other Aboriginal Traditional Owners who are struggling to protect sites which are being systematically destroyed by the NSW Government through the Department of Environmental and Conservation. We have estimated that over 600 Aboriginal sites in NSW have been issued with Consents to Destroys in the last 3 years.“Mr Williams’ Court victory is very important in that it gives a precedent that the NSW Government through the DEC need to recognise the rights of Traditional Owners to have a say in the management and protection of Aboriginal sites” said Mr Oshlack.

The Court has ordered that Country Energy and Dr Pardoe must abstain from any activity which relies on the permits and consents or they would be in breach of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

Inquiries: Al Oshlack Ph. 66 242437
Neville Williams Ph 0416 316 774

ABC News Online: Wednesday, October 27, 2004. 8:42am (AEST)

26 October 2004

The developer of the Lake Cowal gold mine, Barrick Gold, is under fire over a gold mine it half-owns in Western Australia, where cyanide contamination has polluted groundwater and boosted salinity.

The Greens have warned that the damning findings of a WA Government review of the Fimiston 1 tailings dump at the Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine, a 50-50 joint venture of Barrick Gold and Newmont, sets an alarming precedent for Lake Cowal.

“Recent events in West Australia are an ominous but timely warning for the communities and pristine environment of Lake Cowal,” said Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon.

“The release of this report makes it all the more urgent that both Labor and the Coalition support the Greens’ bill to outlaw cyanide-based mining, which is now before Parliament.

“The people of western NSW cannot afford to run the risk of Barrick causing similar spills or contamination in this region,” Ms Rhiannon said.

The WA report, released last week, found that a large area around the Kalgoorlie Super Pit’s Fimiston 1 tailings dam was hit by increased salinity, heavy metal contamination, cyanide contamination and elevated cyanide levels in groundwater.

“Other miners in the vicinity are now facing contamination issues and economic losses due to the environmental impact of the Fimiston dam. Some are calling for a judicial inquiry,” Ms Rhiannon said.

“Barrick’s WA problems are just the latest in a string of environmental mishaps around the world caused by cyanide-based gold mining. New South Wales should act now before we end up with a disaster in our own backyard.”

More information: Hans van Leeuwen 9230 3551, 0425 310 562

From ABC Online, 25 October 2004

At 1pm today, Monday 25th October, National supporters and Traditional Owner, Uncle Neville „Chappy‰ Williams served the Notice to Quit operations at Lake Cowal to Canadian Mining Company, Barrick Gold.

On Friday the 22nd of October, a National Convergence of concerned citizens gathered and set up camp at the front gate of the proposed Lake Cowal Gold Mine. They have rallied to support Uncle Chappy in his bid to protect the Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation.

On Saturday the 23rd, Traditional Owner Uncle Chappy led a ceremony carrying the Sacred Fire of Peace and Justice from Canberra Tent Embassy to the gates of the mine.

Uncle Chappy and his supporters demanded access to the Sacred Site to complete ceremony but were refused and threatened with arrest if the fence was breached. The ceremony continued at the front gate with a heavy police presence. Police agreed to allow the ceremony to continue if it remained outside of the gates but appalled the group when they encouraged the workers to put the fire out with a chemical extinguisher. This was attempted repeatedly, but was unsuccessful, as the flames leapt back into life.

„The spirits of the Sacred Fire will never be extinguished,‰ said Uncle Chappy. „This is genocide against the Wiradjuri people. Lake Cowal is a Dreaming Site, and our people have been coming here since time immemorial. Lake Cowal is a Sacred site with artefacts older than the pyramids of Egypt. There were also many massacres here, and many Wiradjuri People are buried around this Lake.‰ Said Mr Neville Williams.

„We will not sit back and let the Genocide Continue!‰

Two women were arrested in a display of police brutality after fresh leaves were put on the Fire in the ancient smoking ceremony and another who jumped the fence.

„The stupidity of the proposed mine building an open cyanide pit in wetlands known to flood has deeply concerned many people within the community and across Australia. Many of us have to juggle full-time work with the campaign. It‚s hard work but we can‚t risk our waterways being poisoned with cyanide. It has happened before,‰ explained Neylan Aykut from Melbourne.

The Open Pit, cyanide leaching gold mine, proposed by Transnational mining company Barrick Gold is continuing to be challenged in the courts by Wiradjuri Traditional Owner Neville Williams on behalf of Mooka and Kalara United Families.

Source: Aboriginal Tent Embassy

From ABC News Online, Monday, 25 October 2004

The organiser of a protest against the Barrick gold mine, near West Wyalong on the NSW central western slopes, has criticised police, saying they used unnecessary force during arrests at the weekend.

About 100 people gathered from last Friday for a traditional smoking ceremony.

Police say three protesters were arrested on Saturday night for trespassing.

It is alleged they were blocking the only access road to the mine and refused requests to move off.

Protest leader Neville Williams says police used undue force.

"There was a couple of the girls who were punched by the police and one of the police officers grabbed a girl around the throat and attempted to strangle her," he said.

The three protesters will face West Wyalong local court next month.

A police spokesman has denied unnecessary force was used.

From ABC News Online,Thursday, 21 October 2004

Wiradjuri elder Neville Williams says he supports the New South Wales Greens' call for a ban on the use of cyanide in the state's gold and silver mines.

The Greens introduced a Bill into Parliament this week proposing a total ban on the chemical, which will be used in leach mining at Lake Cowal near West Wyalong on the state's central western slopes.

Mr Williams has been fighting against the development of the mine for years, with legal claims he is the site's traditional owner and challenges in the Land and Environment Court.

He says the Greens are right to fear the use of cyanide in mining.

"[The] Lake Cowal mining project is a disaster just waiting to happen where the NSW Government has consented to a cyanide leaching gold mine, in the centre of the Murray Darling Basin and it's in the water catchment area of the Lachlan River, and it's in one of the largest wetlands in NSW," he said.

Mr Williams and his supporters will head to Lake Cowal tomorrow for a traditional smoking ceremony and peaceful protest.

13 August 2004

Wiradjuri Elder, Neville “Chappy” Williams, has rejected calls from the Mayor of West Wyalong for him to work with the mining company which is destroying thousands of years of cultural heritage at Lake Cowal.

“I find Mr Bolte’s comments very offensive,” Mr Williams said.

“First, why would I want to work with Barrick Gold? The Cowal Gold Mine is destroying our ancient sacred site at Lake Cowal. Some of the artefacts there have to be at least as old as the Pyramids of Egypt.

“Second, Mr Bolte is wrong when he says most of the Wiradjuri are working with the company. Only a minority signed the agreement with Barrick and only a minority of Wiradjuri people are working for them. A lot of Wiradjuri people who have worked for the company do not want to return to Lake Cowal because they now know it is against Wiradjuri law to disturb our heritage there.

“Third, Mr Bolte says my concerns about the damage the mine will do to the environment are unfounded. But there is a lot of evidence about the dangers of gold mines. Cyanide is a highly toxic chemical. There are frequent leaks and spills from gold mines around the world. There are no guarantees that cyanide wonât leak into the groundwater around Lake Cowal and eventually make its way to the Lachlan River.

“In the early 1990s a train carrying cyanide pellets derailed at Condobolin, putting the town on high alert. Luckily it didn’t rain. If it had rained the pellets would have turned into a lethal gas, putting people and animals in the area at risk of death and injury. About 6000 tonnes of cyanide will be transported to Lake Cowal for up to 13 years from Queensland. We still do not know what is being done to assure everyone on the route that there won’t be any cyanide-related accidents.

“There are also concerns about the effects water to be used for the mine will have on the high risk groundwater reserves in the area. The mine will use up to 17 megalitres a day. That’s 17 Olympic swimming pools of water.

What will happen if so much water is drawn down that salty aquifers collapse into the Bland Paleochannel? This is the underground river that has been highly significant to the Wiradjuri for thousands of years for spiritual reasons.

How much water will be needed to suppress the estimated 5445 tonnes of dust that will be generated by the mine every year? Then there are the tailings dams. They won’t be lined, making it easier for toxic chemicals to leach into the soil and groundwater. Even if they were lined, cracks and tears can still happen to the linings letting out toxic water.

“What will happen when the next major flood hits the area? Most people don’t seem to realise that the mineâs huge open pit will be partly in the lake bed. How can anyone be certain that in the event of a big flood, the wall to be built around the mine won’t be breached letting contaminated water into the lake area, potentially poisoning the Lachlan?

The mine will also use 200 Gwh of electricity and 146,000 litres of diesel every year, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions in the area. Leaching from huge mountains of waste rock from the mine containing arsenic and other chemical compounds could also endanger the environment.
The mayor might be rubbing his hands over the rates windfall the mine has brought to the Bland Shire Council, but Barrick isnât listed on the Australian stock exchange. Most of the company’s profits will go to Barrick’s overseas company executives and shareholders,” Mr Williams said.

Contact: Neville Williams 0416 316 774

Tuesday, 10 August 2004, 11:49:24 AEST
From ABC News Online:


Bland Shire mayor David Bolte has called for Indigenous claimant Neville Williams to work with the Barrick Gold company, rather than against the mine it is building near West Wyalong, in southern New South Wales.

Mr Williams recently lodged a High Court appeal application against a Federal Court decision that endorsed the Wiradjuri land claim.

Mr Bolte says he respects Mr Williams right to pursue his challenge in court, but says most of Mr Williams' tribe is working with Barrick Gold, which has created Indigenous jobs.

Mr Bolte says Mr Williams' environmental concerns are unfounded.

"I've been out inspecting the site on a number of times and they're going for extreme practices to protect everything in the area and do the right thing by everyone," he said.

"So I think it would be good if Mr Williams would recognise those issues and work with the mining company, rather than continually opposing them."
Mr Bolte says Mr Williams' appeal will not slow work at the mine, with 150 vehicles already commuting there from West Wyalong every day.

20 July 2004

“Barrick Gold has reportedly applied to extract up to 10 mega litres a day as part of the pit dewatering programme for the Lake Cowal goldmine. That amounts to around 3,560 billion litres of water a year.

“Thankfully the Department of Industry, Planning and Natural Resources saw sense and rejected Barrick’s application. But we need to go further than this and reject the development entirely.

“With 87 per cent of NSW drought declared, the Carr Government must immediately halt any further work on Lake Cowal.

“Water extraction that intersects three known aquifers from an already embargoed area will put great pressure on available groundwater resources and exacerbate existing local salinity problems.

“The traditional owners of the land, the wetlands and surrounding ecosystems as well as the livelihoods of our farmers should be the top priority of the Carr Government.

“This is only a gold mine after all. Regional NSW needs to ask Mr Carr – what’s more important - more gold jewellery or the livelihoods of NSW’s farmers?” said Ms Rhiannon.

More information : Cate Faehrmann 9230 3551 0412 207 043 (NSW Greens)

Sunday 18 July 2004

Wiradjuri elder, Neville “Chappy” Williams, will appeal the recent decision of the Federal Court which rejected his attempt to strike out a native title over Lake Cowal in Central Western New South Wales.

Mr Williams has also slammed attacks on him from an elder backing his recent native title appeal rejection. His appeal to strike out a native title claim over Lake Cowal, by a group calling itself ‘Wiradjuri People’, was rejected in the Federal Court on 7 July 2004.

Mr Williams also claims that the small group of Wiradjuri people, who signed an agreement in mid-2003 with Canadian transnational Barrick Gold that traded ancient Aboriginal cultural heritage for ‘benefits’ to the Condobolin Wiradjuri, were not authorised to do so.

Ms Flo Grant, one of five Wiradjuri people who signed the agreement with the mining company, attacked Mr Williams in an ABC news report on 12 July.

“I want to put the record straight,” Mr Williams said.

“There is no native title claim group called ‘the Wiradjuri Condobolin Native Title Claim Group’. Yet this is the name of the small group of people who signed an agreement with Barrick Gold that signed away forever our cultural heritage at Lake Cowal some of which is at least old as the pyramids of Egypt.

“Flo Grant claims that the small group, who signed the agreement with Barrick, did so with the backing of a large group of Wiradjuri people from Condobolin. She also claims that the decision to sign away our heritage at Lake Cowal to Barrick and to allow it to be destroyed, was not the decision of the Wiradjuri Council of Elders (the original native title claimants over Lake Cowal), or her own decision.

“The Wiradjuri Council of Elders had a meeting in Cowra in early 2002 before they put in their native title claim over Lake Cowal. At that meeting I was nominated to be an applicant on that claim because of our recognition and bloodline back to country in the area.

“I backed off because I did not trust Flo Grant or some of the other elders. She has been ill-informed by her advisers. Meetings about Lake Cowal have been held mostly in West Wyalong (47 kms from Lake Cowal) and not in Condobolin.

“In fact a meeting was held in West Wyalong last Saturday (10 July 2004) before Flo Grant issued her press release slamming me and hailing the rejection of my strikeout attempt. I was not invited to the meeting.

“Flo Grant has no authority to sign away land if she doesn’t believe in our traditional culture. Any elder who is prepared to sign away sacred land is not worthy of the status of being called an elder.

“The black line has been drawn and those who want to cross the line and jump over to the other side and assimilate –- they can do so. But they cannot speak on Aboriginal cultural issues or make decisions about country.

“Where Flo Grant is saying that the Friends of the Earth are pushing, me that’s totally wrong. It’s the opposite. There are a lot of traditional Wiradjuri families on our Mooka/Kalara native title claim over Lake Cowal.

“As Chairperson of the Mooka/Kalara united families, I represent over 1000 Wiradjuri people who are claimants under the Mooka/Kalara native title claim over Lake Cowal, including most of the Condobolin families. We are supported by many national and international non-Aboriginal people, including Friends of the Earth. But they are only one of hundreds of organisations here in Australia and internationally that support us.

“We have sought the assistance of non-Aboriginal people in our fight to save Lake Cowal. It’s our cultural heartland and sacred site located on the floodplains of the Lachlan/Kalara River in the Murray-Darling Basin.”

Contact: Neville Williams 0416 316 774

08/07/2004. ABC News Online

[This is the print version of story
Last Update: Thursday, July 8, 2004. 10:37am (AEST)

The Indigenous man who lost his appeal against the native title agreement at the Lake Cowal gold mine near West Wyalong in NSW says legal proceedings are stretching his finances.

Neville Williams challenged the agreement in the Federal Court, but his request was rejected yesterday.

He plans to appeal against the decision in the federal and high courts, and has another case currently before the Land and Environment Court.

Mr Williams says his financial outlook is grim.

"We are doing what we're doing on the smell of an oily rag, and not even that," he said.

Despite his dwindling fortunes, Mr Williams says he will continue to fight the mine development.

© 2004 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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Yesterday, a group of eight led by Neville Williams breached Barrick Gold security and entered the mining lease at Lake Cowal, to perform an ancient ceremony at a marked tree growing within the proposed mine pit for a cyanide leaching gold mine.

“The devastation is terrible.” Said Neville Williams, Traditional Owner representing Mooka and Kalara United Families.

“Barrick have just vandalized our sacred site, knocking over fifty old growth river red gums, they are two hundred to five hundred years old. Our people have sheltered under these trees from the elements of nature for hundreds of years. We are returning to our lands after having our camp raided and removed by police on the 28/04/04. It is our sovereign right to access our sacred site, but Barrick Gold called police, who arrived very quickly.” Neville Williams continued. “I told the police and Barrick we are maintaining an ancient fire ceremony, we are exercising our religious freedom, guaranteed under Section 116 of the Australian Constitution. However the police only allowed us thirty minutes before they would arrest us. I will do everything in my power to protect our living culture at Lake Cowal.”

Contact: Neville Williams 0416 316 774
Ellie Gilbert 0421 795 639

Neville Williams is in the Land and Environment Court all this week 24-29 of May 2004, with allegations that the Barrick Gold archaeologist, Colin Pardoe, breached the National Parks and Wildlife Service Permits, Consent to Destroy and that the Director General of National Parks and Wildlife Service has failed in his duty of care to protect Aboriginal sites and artifacts at Lake Cowal.

7 May 05 from NSW Greens media

Federal Environment Minister David Kemp is gambling on the future of rural communities and risking the safety of the Lachlan and Murray Darling river systems, Greens Senate Candidate Dr John Kaye said today.

Responding to Dr Kemp's refusal to issue an emergency declaration to protect the Lake Cowal site from mining giant Barrick Gold, Dr Kaye said "allowing 6000 tonnes of cyanide to be transported to the proposed gold mine at Lake Cowal is risking a disaster on the scale of the poisoning of the Danube River in Hungary and Romania in 2000.

"Thousands of fish and mammals died when unexpected flooding caused 1000,000 cubic metres of cyanide contaminated water to overflow into the Szamos and Danube river systems.

"The proposed Lake Cowal mine uses similar technology to the Hungarian mine.

"Australia's weather patterns are highly changeable, and flooding is an ever-present threat. It is only a matter of time before an accident happens.

"David Kemp is acting recklessly by putting pressure from mining companies before the safety of our river systems.

"Australian farmers and rural communities depend on healthy rivers. Dr Kemp is risking the livelihood of rural communities by allowing the mine construction to proceed.

"The Greens call on the Government to put rural communities and river safety above pressure from mining companies. Dr Kemp must issue an emergency declaration to protect the site," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

6 MAY 2004

Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, has again refused to issue an emergency declaration to protect threatened Aboriginal cultural heritage at Lake Cowal located in the Murray-Darling Basin in the heartland of Wiradjuri country. Yet, the Federal Government is to spend millions to help the ailing Murray River.

Dr Kemp has notified Neville 'Chappy' Williams, a traditional owner for Lake Cowal, that he (the Minister) would not use his powers under the Federal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act to issue an emergency declaration to stop construction of a cyanide leach gold mine at the site.

Lake Cowal, as well as its Aboriginal cultural heritage and environmental significance, is under immediate threat from the construction of a cyanide leach gold mine. A huge mine pit to be gouged from part of the lakebed will be a kilometre long, 825 metres wide and 325 metres deep. Thousands of waterbirds, including migratory and threatened species, use the lake as habitat during wet years. In a drought situation, as exists at present, the use of bore water for the mine from an already embargoed area will very likely put great pressure on available groundwater resources and contribute further to local salinity problems.

"The Minister's delay and decision is an outrage. I applied for the emergency declaration on 11 September 2003 and the Minister has only just made his decision," Mr Williams said.

"We have gone to great lengths to convince the Minister how important Lake Cowal is, not only to Wiradjuri, but to the wider community.

"Kemp has failed in his role as Minister for Environment and Heritage. Lake Cowal is in the heart of the Murray-Darling Basin and the government will doing nothing to stop 6000 tonnes a year of cyanide being transported across many catchments to the Lake Cowal-Kalara (Lachlan) floodplain, let alone move to protect the sacred heartland of Wiradjuri.

"Lake Cowal is very very ancient and holds treasures as important as those discovered at Lake Mungo. The Federal Government is to spend $500 million to help the Living Murray, but will not make a move to avert an environmental disaster which is just waiting to happen in the Murray-Darling Basin. Around the world there is, on average, a major cyanide leak every week.

"Last week the Canadian mining company, Barrick Gold, fenced us in on the 'travelling stock route which was revoked to Crown land' and then got the police to arrest our camp members under the Inclosed Lands Act 1901 for entering enclosed lands!

"Today I saw Barrick bringing in heavy equipment to begin construction at the Lake Cowal site. They are riding roughshod over traditional owners and threatening the entire Murray-Darling system from Condobolin to Adelaide.

"We have a National Day of Action for Lake Cowal on 20 May 2004 and are calling on everyone to lobby Dr Kemp and Bob Carr to THINK AGAIN about the imminent destruction of Lake Cowal.

"I will fight to the end because it is ludicrous how the New South Wales Government can consent to a cyanide gold mine in a internationally important wetland. We always have to think of the generations who come after us," Mr Williams said.

Contact:  Neville Williams 0416 316 774 or 0421 795 639

ABC Online
Last Update: Thursday, April 29, 2004. 9:45am (AEST)


Protesters have vowed to keep fighting a proposed multi-million dollar gold mine at Lake Cowal, outside West Wyalong in central west New South Wales, despite the arrest of several protesters and the shutting down of their camp.

Yesterday morning, after a request by Barrack Gold, police forced protesters who have been camping at the site for months to leave.

Five protesters will face court next month charged with remaining on enclosed land. One of those arrested has also been charged with intimidation and affray.

Protest spokesman and Wiradjuri elder Neville Williams says the arrests only strengthen the resolve of Indigenous and environmental groups to stop the mine going ahead.

"We could go for an emergency injunction, we are just looking at that, but if we need to we will move the camp, well so be it, but we won't give up and we won't go away," he said.

© 2004 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

28 April 04

At least 20 police have entered the proposed Barrick Gold mine site at Lake Cowal in central western NSW to break up the protest camp set up by the traditional Aboriginal owners and the environmentalists.
Lead Greens NSW Senate candidate Dr John Kaye has condemned the use of force and called on the Federal Government to intervene to save Lake Cowal.

"To hear that police have moved in on this camp while the traditional owners are still pursuing a native claim is an outrage," said Dr Kaye.

"This land is sacred to the Wiradjuri people and must be protected.

"It is also an ecological hot spot, with up to 277 protected species of birds recorded or considered as possible occurrences in the Lake Cowal region.

"Many of these migratory birds are protected under agreements between Australia and Japan and China.

"The proposed use of cyanide places at risk not only downstream farmers but the wetlands themselves which are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands of Australia, the Register of the National Estate, and as a 'Landscape Conservation Area' by the National Trust.

"The Federal Government must now step in and show leadership on this important issue.

"The Greens call on the Government to use its powers to acquire the land, subject to the outcome of the native title claim. Should this not be successful, they should purchase the land from the gold mine developers and hand it over to the traditional owners.

"We owe at least this much to the Wiradjuri people, to the downstream farmers and to future generations," Dr Kaye said.

More information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

28 April 04

At 5am this morning 20 TRG, Tactical Response Group members entered the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, arresting 4 individuals, 1 female and 3 males in an act of continuing genocide. This action occurred just hours after local traditional owner, Elder Neville Williams, chairperson of the Mooka clan and spokesperson for the Mooka and Kalra United Family claims group left to head to Canberra.

Lake Cowal is a the sacred site for the Wiradjuri Nation and contains artefacts that are 4000 years old, ie older then the pyramids.

The Sacred Fire was extinguished and is the third such occasion that this has occurred in the last 6 months. This time no one was burnt.

This act is equivalent of breaking into a church and burning it down. ìWhat would be the consequences in we went and put the fire out at the War Memorialí Questions Neville Williams.

The Fire and the Land go hand in hand, it has been in our culture since the beginning of time. The animals, including humans and the Land are connected, without any of these everyone is going to die.

Lake Cowal is part of the Lachlan and Murray-Darling Basin while the now unprotected 500 red gum and blue gum trees which provide habitat for the 172 varying species of birds that call the lake home will be cut down.

The planned mine is a shopping centre for terrorists. The company Barrick Gold, will use such chemicals as sodium cyanide, the same substance that was used by the Nazis and ammonia nitrate, the chemical that was responsible for the recent blast in North Korea.

The average wedding band creates tailings measuring 6 foot*6foot*12 foot and results in 2.8 tons of Earth being extracted.
The emissions from other mine sites operated by the company such as Oxide of Nitrogen and Sulphur Dioxide contribute to the creation of acid rain.

The NSW police spent the day moving items from the site and placing them at the front of the mining site.

Neville Williams has stated that the camp will be re-established and that he will continue to fight the construction and operation of the mine, until the death. He has asked that all people come and see what has happened and help reconstruct the site.

Elder Neville Williams

14 April 2004

Protesters breached a security fence at Barrick Gold's Lake Cowal compound on Easter Sunday, during a Wiradjuri smoking ceremony led by Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville "Chappy" Williams.

As protesters demanded that Barrick return stolen artefacts and cease their illegal occupation of Wiradjuri land, the Wiradjuri sacred fire was carried around Barrick offices at the compound.

The action was held in protest against a cyanide leach mine the Canadian gold mining company is developing 47km from West Wyalong, Central NSW. The Cowal Gold Project proposes to use cyanide to process the gold from ore extracted from a massive 350m-deep pit covering 70ha on the western edge of the lake, extending into the lakebed.

Traditional owners were joined by more than 150 supporters from a world-wide coalition gathered at the Wiradjuri camp. "We have supporters from many parts of Australia as well as Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, the Phillipines, Holland, England, Germany and America," Neville Williams said.

"Lake Cowal is the Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation. We have connections to this area which date back thousands of years. My great-grandfather was born on the other side of this lake. My grandfather is documented as an initiated Wiradjuri man. My family and other united Wiradjuri families have continuing connection to this country. We have lived on, and for the land, since people first walked here.

"We are frightened of the dangers of carting 6000 tonnes of cyanide a year from Queensland into Lake Cowal and the Lachlan water catchment. Roads and railways from Queensland to central New South Wales are often in poor condition, so there is always the danger of accidents. There is also the possibility that terrorists can hijack cyanide in transit.

"Salinity is already a problem in the area, but Barrick would pump 17 million litres of water a day from the underground waters of the Lachlan River system. On top of this, cyanide spills happen very frequently around the world and Barrick cannot guarantee community safety from an environmental disaster.

Lake Cowal is listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands of Australia, the Register of the National Estate, and as a 'Landscape Conservation Area' by the National Trust. The National Parks and Wildlife Service has cited the Lake Cowal/Wilbertroy Wetlands as worthy of listing under the International Convention on Wetlands (the Ramsar Convention).

"It is my birthright to stand up and protect Lake Cowal at all costs. Our living culture, land and heritage are not for sale. Our religious freedom must be respected," Mr Williams said.

Contact: Neville Williams 0416 316 774 or 0404 383 502

Monday, 12 April 2004
From ABC News Online

About 150 protesters marched on the Barrick Gold office at Lake Cowal in southern NSW yesterday to protest against the construction of a mine on land they say belongs to the Wiradjuri people.

Neville Williams, who has organised a protest camp at the site for the past 18 months, says police and security guards have maintained a 24-hour surveilance of their weekend corroboree.

"The police have just arrived...they've just pulled up in front of us on the road...but we're on public land..we're walking up to the gates and outside the gates is Crown land," Mr Williams said.

March 31, 2004

On Easter weekend, April 10-11, Wiradjuri people from central western New South Wales, Australia will host a gathering at Lake Cowal in a peaceful bid to show their opposition to the Cowal Gold Project.

The gathering is expected to draw supporters from across the nation in the face of growing opposition from Indigenous people and their supporters to Barrick Gold's plans for a cyanide leach gold mine at Lake Cowal.

The lake is in the heart of Wiradjuri country and the Murray-Darling Basin. Barrick Gold announced on 24 February 2004 that construction had begun at the site and access roadworks are in progress.

Wiradjuri Elder, Neville "Chappy" Williams has been litigating against Barrick for more than two years now but he is in no way alone in this struggle.

"I am the spokesperson for the Mooka and Kalara united families' claim over the shared country of Lake Cowal, representing many more than a thousand claimants", Mr Williams said.

"Our traditional families are adamant that Lake Cowal must be protected for future generations.

"Our senior family members have refused monies offered when asked to sign papers consenting to the destruction of our sacred heartland. Wiradjuri culture and land are not for sale.

"While Barrick Gold signed an agreement in May 2003 with a small group of Wiradjuri people who called themselves the "Condobolin Wiradjuri Native Title Claim Group", the legitimacy of this group is in question. Meanwhile Barrick continues to destroy our sacred heritage at Lake Cowal.

"I stress the importance of protecting our Wiradjuri cultural heritage of Lake Cowal. Our heritage at Lake Cowal is part of a much larger area which is highly significant to us. This includes precious stone artefacts, older than the pyramids in Egypt, our sacred site and marked trees."

In a letter to the editor of a local paper, (The Lachlander, 13/1/2004) Wiradjuri Elders have spoken out on behalf of Mooka and Kalara united families within the Wiradjuri Nation.

"The consent to destroy our artefacts was agreed to by a handful of unauthorized Native Title applicants, who are not recognized as having the authority of the whole Koori community, who were never fully consulted on this issue," the Elders wrote in their letter.

"In September 2002, Rio Tinto announced that it would close the Jabiluka Uranium Mine in the Northern Territory if it didn't get the support of the traditional owners," said Ruth Rosenhek, spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Lake Cowal.

"In light of the large opposition to a gold mine at Lake Cowal by the Traditional Owners and their supporters, the Wiradjuri, we call upon Barrick Gold to halt construction of the Cowal Gold Mine immediately and uphold the rights of indigenous peoples."

Contacts: Neville Williams 0416 316 774    Ruth Rosenhek 61-2-66213294

March 26, 2004 from the Coalition to Protect Lake Cowal

Dead lizards, sick kangaroos and a toxic cocktail of cyanide, arsenic and xanthate and other pollutants.

The recently released 'Cooke Report', an independent study commissioned by the Western Australia Government has acknowledge the serious adverse impact on both the environment and public safety of the Kalgoorlie Area, posed by two gigantic 460 hectare tailings dams used to store waste products from Kalgoolie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) cyanide leach goldmines.

The Cooke Report provides insight into the enormous environmental risks that have been glossed over in the development of the proposed Lake Cowal, New South Wales cyanide leach gold mine, owned by the same Canadian mining company Barrick Gold, who also owns 50% of KCGM. Both projects use ( or would use in the case of Cowal Gold Project) large tailings ponds prone to seepage and overflows of toxic waste from the gold extraction process.

"There are huge unevaluated risks associated with the tailings ponds proposed for the Cowal Gold Project," says Ruth Rosenhek, spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Lake Cowal, "and the industry has shown time and again that it cannot manage these risks"

"Everybody in the industry knows that the project is a high risk one situated in an extraordinarily sensitive environment with an open pit to be constructed in the lake bed itself and the tailings ponds situated on a flood plain frequented by rare and endangered birdlife."

The Cooke report highlights these kinds of concerns, evidencing some of the consistent problems associated with cyanide leach gold mines including the seepage of toxic tailings, groundwater contamination with elevated cyanide levels, and what the report described as "the real and significant risks" of overtopping and dam breaks that would have catastrophic impacts .

"Our experience is a warning bell to other regions such as Lake Cowal where these projects are proposed,” stated Steve Kean, a local badly affected by the Kalgoorlie gold mine. “We have found that KCGM owned by multinationals such as Barrick and Newmont can't be trusted on face value, or by what they say verbally or in writing. What has come out in the Cooke report is just the tip of the iceberg, because it takes a major accident, or serious community outrage to reveal the problems that are systemic in the industry as a whole. "

The Coalition to Protect Lake Cowal, an alliance of environmental groups as well as the Mooka Traditional Owners within the Wiradjuri Nation, have criticized the Lake Cowal proposal for its poor design.

"The enormous size (1.3 x1.3km sq.) of the tailings dams makes them extremely attractive and lethal habitat for birds that would have their traditional habitat at Lake Cowal turned into a open pit mine,” says Rosenhek.

"It is extremely difficult to monitor such a large area for wildlife. A birdkill could go unnoticed for 24 hours and by then you'd have a situation as serious as the one that occurred at Northparkes, New South Wales.

"This is only one of the many examples of how the design for this mine poses enormous risks to the environment and Barrick Gold is being permitted by the government of New South Wales to cut corners wherever possible."

For further information, contact Ruth Rosenhek (02) 66213294 Neville Williams 0416 316 774

Thursday, 26 February 2004, 10:16:20 AEDT

The full bench of the Federal Court has reserved a decision in an appeal against the native title agreement between the Wiradjuri Council of Elders and Barrick Gold, covering the Lake Cowal gold mine north-east of West Wyalong in central-west NSW.

Neville Williams from the Wiradjuri sub-group, the Mooka people, has taken the action.

Justices North, Dowsett and Lander heard the appeal yesterday.

Mr Williams is back in the Land and Environment Court today over another matter related to the Lake Cowal gold mine.

Barrick Gold says it has never been able to have a reasonable discussion with Mr Williams.

Company spokesman David Tucker says it will be asking Mr Williams to move his protest camp when it becomes private property after a new road and stock route are established.

Mr Tucker says given their past dealings, he is not surprised by Mr Williams saying he will refuse to move.

But he says Barrick has always left the door open for its critics.

"We have said all along that if people have concerns about what we're doing, it'd be nice if they'd come and talk to us and we could sit down and have a rational discussion. I'm afraid we've never been able to do that with Neville," he said.

26 February 2004

Greens MP and mining spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has accused Premier Bob Carr of misleading the Central West, with his claim that the proposed goldmine at Lake Cowal will create jobs in the region.

“Premier Carr’s claim the Lake Cowal mine will create 200 permanent jobs and 350 construction jobs for the region is misleading,” Ms Rhiannon said.

“The fact is that most of the jobs will not go to the people of the Central West, but will be taken by outsiders who will leave the area once the mine winds up in 10 to 13 years’ time.

“Premier Carr’s assertion that these are jobs for the Central West is contradicted by the project’s own Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).”
Section 4.8 of the EIS says:

Although contractors would be encouraged to preferentially hire local labour, it is likely that the majority of the staffing requirements would be for specialist labour sourced from outside the region.

“During the construction phase, the EIS predicts that little more than half the jobs will go to locals. During the operations phase, 40% of the jobs would be taken by current Barrick employees or skilled workers from outside the region,” Ms Rhiannon said.

“What’s more, can we really call these jobs permanent, since they last for only a decade? In fact, the EIS says that after mining finishes in the 8th year, employee numbers will decline to about 90.

“When is the Government going to offer real solutions: long-term, sustainable employment for the unemployed people of West Wyalong and the Central West?

“The Greens don’t believe that Lake Cowal, which is an environmentally destructive project on sacred Wiradjuri land, is a real jobs creator.

“The real jobs are likely to be for those who have to clean up the pollution and try to remedy the ecological degradation after Barrick has left town in 2015.

“The project should be abandoned before it’s too late,” Ms Rhiannon said.More information:

Hans van Leeuwen, office of Lee Rhiannon 9230 3551 0425 310 562
Ruth Rosenhek, Coalition to Protect Lake Cowal 6621 3294

Wednesday, 25 February 2004 ABC Central West Local News
[This is the print version of story]

The go-ahead has been given for construction to start on a big open cut gold mine at Lake Cowal north-east of West Wyalong, in central- west New South Wales.

The $270 million development has been planned for a decade, but it still has some opponents.

Barrick Gold says the Cowal site contains 2.5 million ounces of proven ore and a large amount of a lower grade of gold.

It says the construction phase now underway will create 350 jobs and there will be 200 jobs when the mine is operational in early 2006.

The mine is expected to inject millions of dollars annually into West Wyalong's economy and has already contributed to a boost in development in the town.

But mine opponent and Indigenous activist Neville Williams is not letting up on his campaign to prevent destruction of what he calls the "sacred country of Lake Cowal".
Mr Williams' appeal against Barrick's native title agreement with the Condobolin Wiradjuri elders is due in the Federal Court today.

Wednesday, 18 February 2004
ABC New South Wales Local News

[This is the print version of story

Indigenous protesters at a Lake Cowal in southern NSW are complaining they have been under attack in the past few months.

Aboriginal elder Neville Williams says shots were fired into their camp on Christmas morning, then a vehicle shone a search light onto their camp site.

'Mr Williams, who is fighting miner Barrick Gold in court, says on another occasion a Ku Klux Klan uniform was left at the camp.

His supporters are also upset at police and firefighters who recently doused their so-called "sacred flame" twice during a total fire ban.

Mr Williams says he wants police to do more to investigate the problems.

"And because I wanted a senior officer to come out and investigate the shooting and the police officer said at that time he wasn't too sure if a senior officer would come out and investigate. Well, I said 'might I add that there was a senior officer, one of the most senior officers from Griffith that came out a couple of months before that and extinguished our sacred fire'," he said.

Griffith police reject Mr Williams' claims of inaction, saying they have done extensive investigations into the shooting incident.

They say they have had several meetings with Mr Williams, but they have not found any suspects, despite their efforts to identify the gun and the vehicle involved.

Police say they cannot do anything more until new evidence comes to light.


Police and firemen made an unannounced raid on the Lake Cowal Wiradjuri cultural camp this afternoon, extinguishing the sacred fire.

"Six police and four firemen drove into the Lake Cowal cultural camp this afternoon, then put out our Wiradjuri sacred fire that smoulders there", according the Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville Williams.

"In a Friday the 13th targeting of the ceremonial fire, the police and firemen left the cooking fire burning. A number of camp members were in town at the time. The police threatened the two remaining protesters, saying that if they lit another fire they would be arrested.

"This is the second time the police and firemen have targeted only the ceremonial fire. Yesterday they desecrated the sacred fire but left the cooking fire burning. One fireman poured water over the ceremonial fire, scalding camp resident, Adrian Trivett, who was treated for burns to the chest at West Wyalong Hospital.

"The police and firemen have no respect for Aboriginal culture or religious beliefs. We are guaranteed religious freedom under s. 116 of the Australian Constitution. Fire is part of Aboriginal traditional religion. Fire and land go hand in hand. Fire is the essence of our cultural being.

"We have a good fire management plan in place at Lake Cowal. The smouldering fire is in the middle of a sacred circle, surrounded by a wide area of dry ground, well away from trees and vegetation. Aboriginal people have lived with fire on this land for thousands of years, we are experts at fire management. We know how to manage fire and would take appropriate action if weather conditions got bad.

"It's ironic how reluctant the police were to investigate gunshots that were fired at the camp around 3.00 am on Christmas morning and later that week, but can send a contingent of 10 men to put out a fire that is always looked after.

"The sacred fire was carried from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra last year and has smouldered at the Lake Cowal cultural site since then. The fire is part of our struggle for justice.

"We do not want a gold mine at Lake Cowal because our cultural heritage there will be destroyed. There are also some big potential human health issues because of the toxic chemicals that will be used and developed in the mining process. Around 6000 tonnes of cyanide per year will be transported on local roads and brought onto the Lachlan Plainööööa disaster waiting to happen. Animals, birds and plants will also be threatened,ä Mr Williams said.

13 February 2004
Contact: Neville Williams 0416 316 774


A protester has received burns to the upper body, requiring hospital treatment, during an incident at the Lake Cowal Wiradjuri cultural camp.

Protester, Adrian Trivett, was scalded when a fireman attempted to put out the sacred fire smouldering at the Wiradjuri cultural camp.

"Two New South Wales police from West Wyalong and three firemen came to the camp yesterday (12 February 2004) to extinguish our sacred fire, breaching s. 116 of the Australian Constitution which guarantees us our religious freedom," said Neville 'Chappy' Williams, Wiradjuri Traditional Owner in charge of the camp.

"When Adrian was leaning over our sacred fire to protect it, a fireman hosed the smouldering fire. The resulting steam billowed up from the hot ash, scalding Adrian's bare chest. He was taken to West Wyalong hospital by ambulance for treatment to his serious burns.

"I was not at the camp at the time, but Adrian Trivett was acting under my instructions to protect the sacred fire. Land and fire go hand in hand. Aboriginal people have been using fire on this land for millennia. We also have a fire management plan in place at the camp.

Earlier this week, the ABC reported that David Tucker, Barrick Gold public affairs manager, said that campers would be asked soon to move from the site on the Travelling Stock Route near the entrance to the Lake Cowal Game Reserve. The company is attempting to move the Game Reserve and part of the Travelling Stock Route to make way for mining construction to begin. They have done this without consultation with the Mooka and Kalara united families who are Native Title applicants and claimants for the Lake Cowal area.

"We wonât be moving one inch. Aboriginal sovereignty was never ceded over our country.

"My attempts to halt a gold mine at Lake Cowal, sacred heartland to Traditional Wiradjuri, have been running for several years. My supporters include many Traditional Wiradjuri based in Condobolin and other places in New South Wales and the ACT. Many non-Aboriginal activists and conservationists from around Australia and other countries have also joined us in our fight to save our sacred lake," Mr Williams said.


Neville Williams 0416 316 774
Lake Cowal Wiradjuri Cultural Camp 0415 218 131

13 February 2004

From ABC News Online
Last Update: Tuesday, February 10, 2004. 10:22am (AEDT)

Aboriginal protesters continue to camp on the site of the proposed Lake Cowal gold mine, in central New South Wales, but they may have to move on soon.

Barrick Gold plans to build a $380 million open cut mine near the lake in the next 12 to 18 months.

The company's public affairs general manager, David Tucker, says the campers are few and peaceful.

But Mr Tucker says the Indigenous people will eventually be asked to pack up their camp.

"We're currently building the new road and stock route on our private land," he said.

"There will come a time when we will exchange the private land that the new stock route's on, with the old one, and at that stage we'll be asking them to move."

The Federal Government has failed to justify the blatant hypocrisy it has displayed in its approach to Barrick Gold’s proposal to construct a cyanide leaching gold mine on Lake Cowal’s sensitive wetlands. This week in parliament Greens Senator Kerry Nettle asked the government to justify its decision to allow Barrick to construct the mine without a federal environment assessment.

“The government claimed that the site is not worthy of Ramsar listing as a wetland of international importance. This assessment flies in the face of the opinion of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Australian Heritage Commission and even the NSW Environment Minister,” said Senator Nettle.

“I will pursue this matter with the Minister to ensure that the internationally significant wetlands at Lake Cowal are preserved”. “The Greens locally, in State Parliament and here in the Federal Parliament have been working hard with the local community to ensure that the Barrick gold mine project is not allowed to destroy this internationally recognised waterbird habitat,” said Senator Nettle.

Senator Nettle’s question:

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage. Given that Lake Cowal in New South Wales is listed in Environment Australia’s directory of important wetlands and is home to many migratory bird species for which we have agreements with Japan and China, is the government considering listing Lake Cowal as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar convention? If so, at what stage is the process at, and when will it be completed? I ask a supplementary question. At the conference on the Ramsar convention last November, Japan and Australia cosponsored a resolution seeking greater cooperation between countries in our region to conserve important waterbird habitats. Is this not a hollow commitment to preserving waterbird habitat when the government has not even ordered a federal environment assessment of the Barrick Gold proposal to build a cyanide leaching goldmine next to the home of these internationally recognised migratory bird species at Lake Cowal?

Contact: Jon Edwards 0428 213 146

2:21p ET Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Blanchard & Co., the New Orleans-based coin and bullion dealer, announced today that the effort by Barrick Gold and J.P. Morgan Chase to delay the search for evidence in Blanchard’s gold price-fixing lawsuit has failed and that the lawsuit now will move into what is called the discovery phase.

GATA has long believed that if such a lawsuit could only reach discovery and if the bullion banks and the big shorts in gold, Barrick foremost among them, could only be compelled to answer questions about their activity in the gold market, the collusion against gold would be exposed no matter how the lawsuit was decided.

So Blanchard’s reaching the discovery phase is a huge victory for the gold cause, for which everyone in the gold community and everyone who supports free markets should be profoundly grateful.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
* * *

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 4, 2003 -- Blanchard and Co. Inc. received word today from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana that its case against Barrick Gold Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. once again may continue into the discovery phase of the lawsuit.

The court denied the defendants’ motions for reconsideration of Judge Helen Berrigan’s Sept. 3rd ruling. Blanchard’s complaint that Barrick and Morgan have violated U.S. antitrust laws by unlawfully combining to manipulate the price of gold and to monopolize the market in gold was brought in December 2002.

In denying defendants’ motions, the court stated that “motions made pursuant to Rules 59(e) and 60(b) ... are not intended to relitigate issues properly before the court when it issued the challenged ruling, or raise new facts or arguments that were not then before the court. ... This is what defendants have attempted to do here.

While the defendants are understandably dissatisfied with a ruling not in their favor, this is neither the time nor method to raise these issues again.”

Blanchard’s CEO, Donald W. Doyle Jr., said, “Barrick and Morgan appear to have lost the chance to delay the discovery phase of the case any further.” Having already served J.P. Morgan and Barrick with its requests for production, Blanchard expects to move into the discovery process immediately.

Neal R. Ryan
Blanchard and Company, Inc.

3 November 2003


Police have desecrated a sacred fire at a protest camp near Lake Cowal in Central Western New South Wales.

Wiradjuri Traditional Elder, Neville Williams, said he was on his way into West Wyalong from the camp today when the police passed him.

Williams said he returned to the camp with Sgt David Dore of the Griffith Police, and Mr Gary Eason from the Rural Fire Service at West Wyalong.

"There were about six people tending the fire at the camp that was just coals. There was no flame. It is a calm day with no breeze out here"

"The police moved the wood off the fire and David Dore got a baton and moved the fire around with a batonä, Mr Williams said."

"I am standing my ground on this", Mr Williams said he told the police. "This is a sacred fire and I am asserting my Native Title rights to practice my religion on this land. I have a Native Title claim over this land at Lake Cowal. The fire is part of our claim. Fire and land go hand in hand. There would be a huge hue and cry if someone tried to extinguish the eternal flame at the Australian War Memorial."

"While the police said that they could understand our religion, they told us there was a fire ban from 1 November for some months and that the fire would have to be extinguished. They were over-reacting. Aboriginal people have been handling fires for thousands of years."

"There is no chance of the fire escaping. I told the police we have an emergency procedure in place. We would put the sacred fire in a bucket with a lid that has very small holes in it. We also have a fire extinguisher in case of any emergency."

"But they told me this wasn't good enough. I asked for a copy of the law they said they are following, but they did not give my a copy."

Contacts: Neville Williams 0416 316 774
Alan Oshlack, Indigenous Advocacy Network (02) 9328 0968

News Item from ABC Online, Message Stick
Monday, 27 October 2003, 14:33:56 AEDT


Local Indigenous spokesman Neville Williams says he does not plan to back down on his native title claim at Lake Cowal in southern New South Wales or give in to requests to put out the eternal flame that burns there.

The bushfire season has started and the Bland Shire Council and local farmers want the fire put out for safety reasons.

But the Mooka Traditional Owners Council chairman says the fire is part of his religion.

"The fire and the land go hand-in-hand and our religion is in the land and the fire is a part of our culture," he said.

"Under section 116 of the Constitution we are allowed to practice our own religion."

Mr Williams says the fire will remain at Lake Cowal.

"I'm asserting my native title right to occupy that area," he said.

"We had brought the fire out there just before last Christmas - I stood my ground on the issue."

Mr Williams's challenge to the Condobolin Wiradjuri elders native title agreement on the mine site is due to be heard in the Federal Court next week.

News Item from ABC Online
Posted: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 19:53 AEST


Mooka Traditional Owners Council chairman Neville Williams says having an eternal flame burning at Lake Cowal in central New South Wales is his constitutional right.

The reaction comes after the Bland Shire Council and local farmers expressed concern over the safety of the open fire given the bushfire season is underway.

Mr Williams's latest action to prevent the Lake Cowal Gold Mine is due for hearing in the Federal Court this week.

He says the fire is very important to his Indigenous spirituality.

"The fire and the land go hand-in-hand and our religion is in the land and the fire is a part of our culture," Mr Williams said.

"Under section 116 of the Constitution we are allowed to practice our own religion."

And now Barrick Gold pressures the New South Wales State Government to amend planning legislation just so they can have a go at Lake Cowal. The excuse is that there's been too many delays by litigation. The reality is that the company is lagging in getting environmental licences together and the design of the mine project is inadequate to meet best practice. Here's what (an industry web publication) has to say:

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

CANADA'S Barrick Gold is likely to get up to another three years to develop its $300 million Cowal project in central New South Wales after the state government and opposition joined forces to pass a bill through the lower house of parliament.

The bill would extend the approval periods for major developments such as Cowal which have been delayed by legislation.
Barrick received development consent in 1999, subject to a number of conditions including native title and environmental planning aspects, and was granted a mining licence in June this year.

However, the gold major is continuing to fight a dozen legal challenges from a group calling itself the Wiradjuri traditional owners, which threatened to delay construction until the approval period lapsed on March 24 next year

If passed by the state upper house next week, the legislation would give Planning Minister Craig Knowles the power to extend approval for major approvals delayed by litigation, Australian Associated Press said.

The wire service reported Murrumbidgee MP Adrian Piccoli conceded the bill was designed to "more or less throw a lifeline to the Lake Cowal project".

"There's a ratbag element out there who have tried to disrupt this proposed development as much as they can," he told parliament, AAP reported.

"I'm sure that some of the litigation, some of the things that have occurred … have been done just for the purposes of delaying it, in the hope that [Barrick's] development application period will expire, therefore forcing the company to re-apply for approval."

This article was on the second page of the Business Section of the Globe and Mail which is Canada's national newspaper out of Toronto.
by Wendy Stueck, Vancouver
September 9, 2003

Barrick Gold Corp. says its production will drop about 10 and costs will climb by the same amount next year as a result of mining lower-grade ore at two of its mines.

The Pierina mine produced a record amount of gold last year -- 898,228 ounces at a cost of $80 an ounce -- but operations are now moving into a lower-grade part of the 3.6 million-ounce ore body. At an investment conference yesterday, president and chief executive officer Greg Wilkiins said changes at Pierina, along with lower grades being mined at Goldstrike in Nevada, would result in lower production and increased costs next year. Barrick expects to reverse that trend by 2005, when the first of four new mines now being developed comes into production.

"Barrick's board has just approved our Alto Chicama project in Peru, and we're also pushing ahead at Veladero," Mr. Wilkins said yesterday at a conference in Toronto.

The $350-million Alto Chicama mine is expected to begin production in 2005. It contains an estimated 6.5 million ounces of gold reserves and is expected to produce about 500,000 ounces a year.

Veladero, a $425-million mine in Argentina, is expected to start production in 2006, and to produce 530,000 ounces a year.

Barrick is also developing Pascua Lama, on the border between Chile and Argentina, and Cowal in Australia in a five-year, $2-billion development plan.

The company planned to begin work on Cowal this month but will delay that until the first quarter so it can address concerns raised by environmentalists and aboriginals, Mr Wildins said. A stronger Australian dollar, which has climbed 17 per cent against the U.S. dollar, has also made the project more expensive for Barrick, he said.

The company has also revved up its exploration program, and says it intends to spend about $100-million on exploration and development next year.
Mr. Wilkins said Barrick was on track to meet its earlier guidance of producing between 5.4 million and 5.5 million ounces of gold in 2003 at an average cost of between $190 (U.S.) and $195 an ounce.

The company, Canada's largest gold producer, last year produced 5.7 million ounces of gold at a cost of $177 an ounce.

Barrick shares fell 40 cents (Canadian) to close at $27.86 yesterday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

August 8, 2003

"Protect Lake Cowal" and "Bar Barrick" proclaim two of the banners flying high alongside the Aboriginal Flag at the newly formed permanent protest camp at Lake Cowal in central NSW. Protesters are there to express their concerns about Barrick Gold's plans to construct a cyanide leach gold mine on Sacred Lake Cowal, the "Heartland" of the Wiradjuri Nation.

The Sacred Fire has been brought from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra by Wiradjuri Elder and Traditional Owner of Lake Cowal, Neville "Chappy" Williams. The numbers of supporters at the camp continue to grow with visitors from many areas.

"Yesterday we were visited by Elder, Uncle Sibby Johnson, from the Willowbend Mission in Condoblin," said Deborah Lilly, a protester at the site.

"Uncle Sibby's ancestors, along with Uncle Chappy's, have lived in the Lake Cowal area since time began.  Uncle Sibby was very concerned about the trees, many of which have been painted with a yellow stripe by the mining company indicating the intentions of Barrick Gold to destroy the trees. Uncle Sibby said, 'In this time of drought, if they remove the trees, they will never come back'.

"Uncle Sibby entertained the gathered supporters with stories from the old times and he played a romantic melody on a gum leaf placed between the lips, and the sound he made was rather like an oboe. 'We lived here in harmony with nature, and everything we needed was here', said Uncle Sibby.

"Meanwhile, the mining company utility vehicles charged up and down the dirt road near the protest camp. They have been stalking the protest with night vision cameras, and have been requested to desist from this illegal practice.

"In the background, the ominous sound of drilling machinery drones on, the flocks of sheep have been calling out in distress and the galas greet with raucous calls the travellers who came to say "No" to cyanide poisoning of the waters of Lake Cowal.

For more information, contact protest camp at 0416316774 or 66213294.

August 6, 2003

A protest camp is now set up at Lake Cowal, where Canadian company , Barrick Gold, is planning a cyanide-leach gold mine.

"Lake Cowal is central to the Murray-Darling Basin. Arsenic leaching from wasterock and cyanide tailings ponds at the mine site will be a death knell for this already stressed water-system" states Ellie Gilbert, campaigner against the mine.

It is also known that the mining company demand is up to 16 million litres of water each day from the Lachlan river. At a time of drought in this area, this would be a disaster", says Ms. Gilbert.

Benny Zable, a well-known environmental activist who is at the camp quotes David Suzuki by saying: "Water is what makes life on this planet possible. The way we treat water is absolutely the key to whether we are going to survive". This year is the international Year of Water.

Numbers are growing at the site where seventeen concerned citizens are now camped in support of Neville 'Chappy' Williams, a Wiradjuri elder who opposes the mine. He is now asking other concerned citizens to show their support by joining the camp at Lake Cowal.

"We are staying here indefinitely...until the end of this mine", states Neville Williams.

This is a rare opportunity to spend time with a Wiradjuri elder at his sacred heartland.

For more information contact Ruth Rosenhek, spokesperson for the Lake Cowal Campaign at or phone (02) 66213294.

If you wish to join the protest, give us a call on 66213294 to arrange carpooling.

North Coast Protesters Bring Their Concerns To Lake Cowal
August 4, 2003

To save Lake Cowal from a cyanide leach gold mine, a busload of seasoned activists left this afternoon from the Rainforest Information Centre in Lismore.
Wiradjuri Elder Neville Williams and other Traditional Owners of the Lake Cowal region will welcome the protesters on their sacred ceremonial dreaming land.

"Clean water is what we are made of, it is essential for life on Earth and we have to stop poisoning it" said Benny Zable, a veteran campaigner who is travelling on the bus.

"The desecration of another Aboriginal Sacred Site is yet another loss for now and future generations." said Mr. Zable.

"A permanent protest camp at Lake Cowal is being set up and any concerned citizens who care about our precious water are welcome to join us in this international year of freshwater. Bring food, water and a drum!"

For further information, contact Ruth Rosenhek on (02) 66213294 and visit


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