Community members question Peak’s plans for Great Cobar

Peak Gold Mines held a community information session at Cobar Bowling & Golf Club last Wednesday to answer community questions and gain feedback on their plans to explore the historic Great Cobar Mine area. Photo contributed

There has been a lot of concern voiced in the community since Peak Gold Mines (PGM) announced in December their plans for a proposed exploration decline at Great Cobar.

In response Aurelia Metals, PGM’s parent company, held a community information night at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club last Wednesday to provide the public with information about the project.

Peak’s general manager Neal Valk and Aurelia’s environment group manager Jonathon Thompson headed up the presentation which was attended by approximately 40 people.

Mr Thompson said the presentation endeavoured to provide more information regarding the particulars of the Review of Environmental Factors.

“PGM predominately focused on the impacts that were raised during the last meeting (December 18) including air quality, blast vibration and noise,” Mr Thompson said.

“There were several people present who had concerns regarding the air quality and plenty of questions were asked.

“PGMs intent was to provide the facts surrounding the proposed vent rises and any potential impact,” he said.

“PGM reiterated that the vent rises would not have surface vent fans as part of exploration of Great Cobar and that if PGM were to progress to mining Great Cobar PGM would need to do an Environmental Impact Statement which would require a much more thorough assessment (due to the fans on the surface and much greater volumes of air being emitted from the rises) of the emissions from the vent rises and any potential impacts on human health.”

Mr Thompson said the questions asked by the public were “reasonable and highlighted the concerns held by members of the community”.

Cr Julie Payne and concerned mother of two, Leah Le Lievre, were among those who attended the meeting.

Cr Payne said she, like others at the meeting, had concerns about vibrations, air quality, water contamination, water run off and the location of vent rises on the slag dump.

“We don’t want to stop the mining but we don’t just have to accept this,” Cr Payne said.

She said she felt that the community’s questions weren’t all satisfactorily answered.

Mrs Le Lievre agreed and said she was frustrated when an interjection from the crowd failed to see her question about the possibility of re-directing the vent rises answered.

“I think many people are still concerned and confused.

“Peak are planning to have another meeting and I intend to go along and see if I can find out more,” Mrs Le Lievre said.