Moruya residents are calling for an “open discussion” about potential plans for a gold mine at Donkey Hill, however the mining company exploring the area is remaining tight-lipped.
Region Media contacted Andrew Graham, the geological consultant to the private company that holds the exploration licence at Donkey Hill, who declined comment.
Matt Perks, whose Wamban Road property overlooks the hill just south of the Moruya township, says the community has a right to know what is planned for the disused gold mine.
He has also been given the runaround after learning about the mine “by chance” when contractors began erecting stakes on his land during one of their exploration surveys in November.
Mr Perks says he is concerned that, if drill testing locates a significant source of gold or other minerals, it could lead to “a large scale open-cut mining operation on our nature coast”.
“Maybe some people want that. I don’t want it,” he said.
“An open cut mine next to my property is going to destroy the environment around me and impact the whole town,” he said.
“This is the nature coast and we define ourselves as a pristine escape from the big cities with diverse wildlife, pristine rivers and pristine beaches.
“Do we want to define ourselves like Newcastle and Wollongong which are mining towns based on heavy industry? I don’t think we do.”
Mr Perks believes that if the mine gets the green light, it could affect the water quality in nearby creeks which would then impact food producers including cattle and oyster farmers, as well as the local environment and regional tourism.
But, he says the biggest problem is not knowing.
“We just want transparency and to be able to track what they’re doing so we understand what the process is and, if we’re opposed to it, what we can do legally,” Mr Perks said.
“I’m trying to muster people into a cohesive group so we can really fully explore what we can do and know what our options are.
“I want to stop this.”
Mr Perks says all he has been told is that consultants have been commissioned to “locate several old bore sites as part of exploratory activities on the old Donkey Hill Gold mine site”.
He has instructed the consultants not to access his property again and has taken his concerns to Eurobodalla Shire Council, the Local Aboriginal Lands Council and the Eurobodalla Greens.
Donkey Hill was a former small gold mine that was worked from 1875 to 1946 with shafts extending down to around 175 metres and is part of the eastern Lachlan Fold Belt.
Mitre Mining Corporation Limited has an exploration licence located west of Batemans Bay and managing director Clinton Carey says his company is not associated with the Donkey Hill site.
“Mitre Mining has recently listed on ASX and the area of our proposed operations and our plans in the short to medium term are, as a result, a matter of public record,” Mr Carey said.
“We are committed to community and landholder engagement, and our exploration activities have and will be conducted in accordance with this commitment and as required by regulatory obligations.”
Mitre Mining is an Australian mineral exploration and development company focusing on large scale gold, silver, base metals and lithium discoveries in the eastern Lachlan Fold Belt.
According to its website, the company believes “the lack of modern exploration work within the Batemans Project, combined with its location close to small historic gold occurrences within the surrounding highly prospective eastern Lachlan Gold Belt, presents a unique opportunity to apply modern exploration techniques to a historically unexplored area within a region of historical gold production”.
Mr Perks is also concerned about the impact the Batemans Project could have on the Clyde River catchment.
“Here we have two potential mine sites that could have major repercussions for the two largest townships in the Eurobodalla,” he said.