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(25 April 2006) |
Sample Letters (submit yours)

Here's some points you can make in your Letter to the Editor. Pick the ones that you feel most passionate about and then write a brief letter in your own words. Please keep letters to 100-200 words at most if you wish it to be printed in its entirety.

You can write your letter as an email and then send it to a newspaper near you. Click here for a list of contact details of where to send letters to the editor all across Australia.

* I am concerned about the destruction of Aboriginal sacred place.

Lake Cowal/The Bland is a very important sacred region for the Aboriginal Traditional Owners and is often called "the Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation". When explorers first came to Lake Cowal they recorded tribal Aboriginals who used the area as a campsite and sacred site. There are thousands upon thousands of artefact and relics at the Lake Cowal site that are testimony to this useage. Barrick Gold have not properly consulted with many Aboriginal traditional owners from the region, many of whom have declared their opposition to the Lake Cowal gold mine project. The gold mine at Lake Cowal has already destroyed parts of this Aboriginal Sacred Site including Aboriginal artefacts, scar trees and other cultural objects.

* I am concerned about the destruction of a high conservation wetland and the many endangered and vulnerable native birdlife, wildlife and plants.

Lake Cowal is included in the Australian Register of the National Estate and in its Directory of Important Wetlands. The National Trust of Australia (NSW) has listed Lake Cowal as a 'Landscape Conservation Area'. The Australian Heritage Commission has suggested the NSW government consider the Lake Cowal region for listing under the Ramsar Convention as a Wetland of International Importance.

* Invasion of exotic weed species

* I am concerned about the transportation of Cyanide from Gladstone to Lake Cowal.

The cyanide will be railed from Gladstone in Queensland to Chullora in Sydney. It will then be trucked from Chullora to Parramatta before it is railed to Dubbo. From Dubbo it will be trucked to the mine near West Wyalong. With 6,000 tonnes of cyanide travelling this route every year there is a grave danger of a poisonous spill on a major highway. The RTA's own figures suggest that up to 10 per cent of trucks are involved in a mishap in any given year.

For more information, visit Cyanide Watch. Click here for cyanide transportation accidents.

* I am concerned about the use of cyanide at Lake Cowal and its impact on fish, birdlife and humans.

Cyanide is lethal. One teaspoon of a 2% solution can kill an adult human. Cyanide is even more toxic to aquatic biota than to birds. Contrary to gold mining industry claims, cyanide leaks and spills are commonplace in the industry. These mining accidents have poisoned entire river systems and have devastating impact on bird life. Cyanide does not necessarily breakdown rapidly into safe chemicals. Many potential breakdown products are about as lethal as cyanide itself.

A spill of wastewater containing cyanide, arsenic and potentially other toxins could severely damage the entire Cowal wetland and related waterways including the Murray River System already over-stressed by salt, nitrogen, acidity and agricultural chemicals. As well as the risk of killing fish, bird-life and farm stock, toxins could enter the food chain and jeopardise fishing industries adn drinking water. (See cyanide accidents).

* Barrick Gold is a big, bad corporation! - This is the same company that wants to move 3 glaciers at Pascua Lama in Chile to get the gold beneath! What's that going to do for the local people's water supply, let alone for global warming?

This is the same company that owns Vancouver-based Sutton Resources Ltd. In 1996- Sutton drove out anywhere between 30,000 and 400,000 local miners from the Bulyanhulu mining field in Tanzania. During the process- Sutton's bulldozers allegedly buried 52 people alive. Barrick steadfastly denies the allegations.

There's much more to say. Read on at and at

* I am concerned about the huge amount of water that will be used to mine gold at Lake Cowal in drought stricken NSW.

Barrick will be pumping 16 megalitres per day. That's enough for a whole small city (This is true in Lismore, NSW, how about where you live?)

* I am concerned about waste rock, arsenic seepage, other toxins that will be present at Lake Cowal.

Heavy Metals such as arsenic, zinc, cadmium and lead could enter soil and waterways. Arsenic levels are high in the Lake Cowal ore body. If arsenic were to seep into the water system, there could occur a situation similar to Bangladesh where people contracted skin cancer from arsenic-laced water from drinking wells. Dr Barry Noller, Deputy Director of the National Research Center for Environmental Toxicology, states in “Cowal Gold Project: Comments on the Environmental Impact Statement "Data for trace elements in mine waste rock is not given, although it is indicated that arsenic levels are high. This data should be made public. Waste rock emplacement is close to Lake Cowal and seepage may reach Lake Cowal.” Noller concludes that, "The role and impact of heavy metals in Lake Cowal which may be associated with natural mineralisation is not understood. As the waste rock has the potential to transfer heavy metals to the lake via seepage, these processed need to be understoond.”

* I encourage all readers to write to Minister Bob Debus -- Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney 2000 -- to ask him to put an immediate halt to the Lake Cowal Gold Mine.


submitted by Angela Lautenbacher

Letter To the Editor

Re: Lake Cowal Gold Mine Project.
26 April 2006

How many of us out there are aware that the gold jewellery that we buy and wear as a sign of our status, beauty and wealth, is encouraging companies like "Barrick Gold", to continue the destruction of natural habitats of cultural, national and international significance?

Without heed to the outcry from environmental groups and Aboriginal traditional owners from the region, Barrick gold have pushed forward with the proposed mine. Their plans are to set up a cyanide leach pad on site at Lake Cowal, as a means to extract the gold from the ground. The only barrier between the lake and the open pit would be an earth wall. A spill of wastewater containing cyanide, arsenic and potentially other toxins could severely damage the entire Cowal wetland and related waterways.

A shocking 89% of Australia's wetland areas have been destroyed over the last century! With planetary health as it stands shouldn't the global community be promoting conservation and repair of these wetland habitats rather than assisting in their destruction?

Submitted by Graeme Dunstan

May 3, 2006

Barrick pours gold at Lake Cowal and future generations weep.

Future generations of frogs and fishes, yabbies and wading birds, ducks and wallabies, and humans too, is who I am talking about and they weep for the destruction the gold miners bring upon the land and the toxic legacy of vast artifical lakes of poisoned water that will be left behind; still toxic when all memory of Barrick and its profits are forgotten.

And all for what? The transient greed of a few far away shareholders and some dead end local jobs.

The prosperity promised by Barrick Gold mine is a monstrous lie, as much a corruption of mind as it is of good government.

Water more precious than gold.

Graeme Dunstan