Campaign Mounts as Sacred Fire Heads to Lake Cowal

November 11, 2002

The campaign to protect Lake Cowal from the development of a cyanide leach gold mine on New South Wales' largest inland lake is quickly mounting. Court action, campaign video and Sacred Fire gathering at the Lake will all be in full swing in Mid-November.

"On November 16, following the WTO protests in Sydney, Wiradjuri Traditional Owners will be carrying the Sacred Fire for Peace and Justice from Canberra's Tent Embassy to the Lake, known as the "heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation" said Ruth Rosenhek, spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Lake Cowal.

"Meanwhile Minister Kemp will be receiving an application from Wiradjuri Elder Neville Williams for an Emergency Declaration to gain a protection order for Lake Cowal under the Commonwealth's Aboriginal/Torres Strait Heritage Act.

"Mr. Williams will also be in court at the end of the month seeking a halt to Barrick Gold's exploration drilling which is causing ongoing destruction of Aboriginal objects without a proper consent to do so from National Parks and Wildlife Service.

"At the same time, our campaign video entitled Lake Cowal: Our Story will be aired at the Wild Spaces festival in Melbourne and will travel to other major cities across the nation.The video raises awareness about the dangers associated with the Cowal Gold Project.

"Support is fast growing and awareness about the dangers posed by the Lake Cowal gold mine project is heightened."

Lake Cowal is of national and international importance as the largest inland lake in NSW registered on the National Estate. 172 bird species inhabit the lake, including internationally protected migratory waders from China and Japan. Barrick plans to import 50,000 tonnes of cyanide into this fragile ecosystem, creating a 76 million tonne cyanide tailings pond. Barrick would leave behind 50 million tonnes of arsenic-rich waste rock mounds and a kilometre long open pit which have the potential to leach arsenic and other heavy metals into the groundwater system and into the waterways.

For more information contact:

Eloise Corlett
Mob: 0410 436 030.

Ruth Rosenhek
Rainforest Information Centre
Ph: (02) 66213294