March 16, 2006

To celebrate International Water Day on the twenty second of March, a National Day of Action for Lake Cowal will be held in all major cities, including Sydney and Melbourne.

Lake Cowal is an inland lake in central New South Wales and is a wetland of national and international significance. It is the site of a contentious open cut, cyanide-leach gold mine owned and operated by the world’s largest gold mining company, Barrick Gold.  

The mine is due to be fully operational within a few weeks despite opposition from traditional owners within the Wiradjuri Nation and many environmental and human rights groups. The mine is on a site sacred to Wiradjuri. 

There are pending court cases regarding the legitimacy of the gold mine and the clear breaches in environmental safety standards and the unwillingness of the NSW state government to release the cyanide transportation route.

The tailings ponds to hold the waste cyanide are unlined and there is grave concern that the cyanide will leach into and pollute the Lachlan River and the ground waters.


“The Lake Cowal National Day of Action plans to highlight the importance of stopping mining companies from using vast amounts of groundwater from drought stricken areas and the negative affect it has on the surrounding farmlands and the natural habitat.” states Natalie Lowrey, National Liason Officer for Friends of the Earth Australia.

“Desecration of this sacred site is genocidal to the Wiradjuri people who live with the land and who have always known that water is more precious than gold.”

Contact: Natalie Lowrey 0431 194 083

Mia Pepper 0415 380 808