Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cunning as….. Marathon’s Orwellian wordset works wonders.

Imagine two enthusiastic Wilderness Defenders canvassing for memberships outside the Blackwood Pharmacy about 11:30 am on a fine Thursday morning, 21 February 2008.


Sympathetic, but informed, passer by: Q: “What about Arkaroola?”

Committed Defender: A: “Oh, we’ve won that, Marathon’s moving out.”

Response: (invective deleted) "Not true, check your facts. Go to this blog site and see for yourself."

Why? According to a well hidden Advertiser report (page 68, 20 Feb 2008)

Three of Marathon’s four rigs have left the site. The final rig may be used to drill for water.”

How very, very Orwellian. This means one rig remains, and in drilling for water it will of course report on the geology it encounters. It is not only natural, it’s a requirement of the Mines Act which, for once, Marathon will happily fulfil. Water is itself a very scarce and precious commodity in this region. Attempts to mine it to process uranium will do enormous damage. For a more detailed report on this latest threat, see the new post at

Marathon says in its own recent releases that it will ramp up feasibility studies to progress mining well ahead of the original estimation of 2011. They want to complete the study by July 2008. The only thing that has changed is the length of the tunnel being talked about. It’s grown, like Pinocchio’s nose, from an unrealistic, and underestimated, 2km, to a very fanciful 10km. They are looking for a partner with the pre-requisite engineering staff (and money, since they could not raise the $27m they were after in the first place) to progress the issue. Check out who’s who in partnership with Marathon – look up UraniumSA; Stellar Resources and GingerTom. Maybe Tom Phillips can bring the same closure to this project that he did to Mitsubishi, which has just closed its manufacturing plant in Adelaide. Seriously, he’s probably not there to for that. But, just like Schacht, he carries influence, with the government, and that’s why he is there with UraniumSA.

And, again, to quote the good old Adelaide Advertiser, page 73 this time, 16 November 2007:

“MARATHON Resources is within weeks of signing a deal with a major mining contractor, which could cut years off the development of its Mt Gee uranium deposit. Denis Wood, who was recently appointed to oversee the Mt Gee project in the northern Flinders Ranges, said yesterday he wanted to push the project faster to ensure it came online before some other projects which were in development, especially large overseas projects.

“Mr Wood, speaking at the company's AGM in Adelaide, said he wanted the development timetable, which aims for first production in mid-2011, speeded up. "I would like to see some acceleration of the process," he said. "We are a bit short on some drilling results." Mr Wood said despite this, the company started detailed mine planning this week and would have a mine plan ready by the middle of next year. (2008) The company also aimed to have a pre-feasibility study finished by that time, he said. Mr Wood said the shortage of skilled mining engineers and similar professionals had led to a decision to partner with a mining contractor to speed up the development of Mt Gee. "For a young company like Marathon to go out and pick up a suite of engineers would be no small task," he said. On the other hand, a partnership with a large contractor would "take years off our timetable" he said. Marathon chairman Peter Williams said the company had started a drilling campaign in October, in a bid to increase the current 42.8 million tonne uranium oxide resource at Mt Gee.”

This is the same Mr Wood who helped Talbot Holdings bring its Coppabella Coal mine into production, a project which has since been put at the centre of corruption inquiries in Queensland, with its principal shareholder involved in court action over corrupt dealings with government Ministers.

But Marathon’s wordsmithing’s fooled a good many environmental activists into claiming victory when there isn’t one. Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is even more vulnerable because those who would otherwise act to support and protect it will relax and let their guard down. This couldn’t be made any clearer than it has been on the Readers are encouraged to visit it for the detail.

The real questions that need to be asked remain the same – Why has this cowboy company got such an easy ride, and why hasn’t the SA government kicked it out of Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary?

They have admitted to a continuing history of environmental vandalism, with a confirmed track record over the years. In 2005 they buried more radioactive material, this time in barrels 8kms from the present travesty. For some reason, the SA government saw fit to ignore this in its recent announcement as it continues to overlook its responsibilities in the administration of not only the Mining Act, but of Heritage and Environmental legislation. Demand Marathon’s removal – write or email the politicians listed at the end of this post.

The stock market is getting jittery. The comments and the graph below represent something of the credibility gap, (price vs volume) and these comments from stock trading insiders,

Latest comment(s) from:

Re: MTN - Marathon Resources

Originally Posted by jman2007

Well if you're so sure that the indicators are right and it's going to take off again, then why can't you make your own decision about whether it's undervalued or not?It doesn't matter if it was 1 person repsonsible or 25 people responsible for dumping waste. At the end of the day, it is still work being carried under MTN's banner and senior management have to carry the can. Responsibilty comes with seniority, and that's why they get paid the big bucks. Try telling the DPI that it was "one person's act of irresponsibity therefore we didn't know about it, so you shouldn't fine us" and they'd collapse laughing.You might want to do some background research on MTN yourself, the Geo's I have dealings with in SA claim that MTN originally tried to claim work from previous companies as their own, made ridiculous assumptions in correlating profiles in section that were hundreds of meters apart, and reported EOH mineralisation when in actual fact, the hole continued and ended in barren rock. Oh and by the way, I don't get my info from the meida, but from formulating my own opinions and talking to people who actually know what they're on about.jman

Reply from Reece55: Jman I consult to a leading exploration entity in SA in my capacity as an accountant and the same views re the dodgy assumptions in their supposed JORC were relayed to me too...... The summary I received from the expert Geo's was there was an awful lot creative interpretation to build the resource, because the number of drill results were insufficient to perform the calculation.... They likened it to joining the dots when they were in actual fact very far apart....Sounds like there are a few sad investors on this board......... Perhaps they are looking at MTN's chart upside down?

This is what they were looking at: Price is top line, volume of shares, bottom line.

21 February, 2008. Doesn’t make sense either way, any way.
Upside down they may be, but not out.

They are very clever wordsmiths.

Write to the SA and federal government ministers responsible demanding an end to this charade.

Write to State Politicians:
The Premier of South Australia,The Hon. Mike Rann MPPO Box 2343, Adelaide SA 5001Email:
The Minister for Mineral Resources Development,The Hon. Paul Holloway, MPGPO Box 2832, Adelaide SA 5001Email:
The Minister for Environment and Conservation,The Hon. Gail Gago MLCGPO Box 1047, Adelaide, SA 5001Email:
The Minister for Tourism,The Hon. Jane Lomax-Smith, MPGPO Box 778, Adelaide, SA 5001Email:
Leader of the OppositionMr. Martin Hamilton-SmithShop 2, 212 Belair Road, Hawthorne, SA 5062Email:
The Hon. Nicholas Xenophon, MLCGPO Box 572, Adelaide SA 5001Email:
Federal Politicians:
Prime Minister,The Hon. Kevin Rudd MPTelphone (02) 6277 7700PO Box 6022, House of Representatives,Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600
Minister for the Environment , Heritage and Arts,The Hon. Peter Garrett MPPO Box 6022, House of Representatives,Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600Email:
Minister for Climate Change and WaterThe Hon. Penny WongPO Box 6237, Halifax Street Adelaide SA 5000 Email: Online contact form at
Minister for Tourism,The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MPPO Box 6022, House of Representatives,Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600Email:
Leader of the Opposition,The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MPPO Box 6022, House of Representatives,Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600Senator for Tasmania,Senator Bob Brown,Level 1, Murray Street Pier,Murray Street, Hobart Tas 7000Email:
Shadow Minister for TourismSenator the Hon David Johnston183 Great Eastern Highway Belmont WA 6104
Shadow Minister for The EnvironmentThe Hon Greg Hunt MPPO Box 274Hastings Vic 3915 Email:

1 comment:

Nigel said...

The final say is with heritage for export licence. There is a mountain of evidence (pardon the pun) to show the person (Marathon) is not a responsible entity to be granted a licence. The average yield is 0.07...the area has many underground caverns and caves...the removal of material for a tunnel and the destruction of underground caves would be major environmental vandalism and would no doubt attract a lot more attention. I dont know exactly what UraniumSA and Marathon are doing elsewhere but it would sure be interesting. PIRSA and EPA are very pro mining in fact it would be fair to say PIRSA is in mining partnership with these companies. Perhaps the object of creating hell for the Spriggs and the sanctuary is to divert attention from the big picture. How many cowboys have been granted licences to explore for uranium in the past 12 months? Most of these would be as ignorant or more so than Marathon, they may not be operating in the Arkaroola Sanctuary but they are disturbing wildlife and habitat and drilling into geologies traversed with aquifer systems. The real problem or issue here is Mr Rann and his colleagues who are pursuing uranium mining with much zeal but no consideration to the long term consequences of the state, the environment or global security. I dont think the environment lobby has given up but there is corruption in so many places in SA and fed gov that approaches to government and media are less effective than they used to be.