In anticipation of government approval for a resumption of exploratory drilling, major players, believed to include the shady Lebanese Black Pearl outfit, coal boss Ken Talbot, and Director John Lynley, have been buying up big. Lynely took up 375,000 shares at 40 cents each on April 24. Today, on May Day, they are worth 67.5 cents, or a neat $106,250 profit on an outlay of $150,000. Someone’s got to make these sacrifices to keep the capitalist system going!
Marathon has rather tamely declared that it will spend the next couple of months working out how best to proceed with its program, and has announced (yet another) resources upgrade with references to increased mineralization.
The reason for its subdued response to the PIRSA clean-up approval was the fact the Minerals Minister Holloway had told SA Parliament on Tuesday that there were still hurdles facing the company:
"Marathon's activities on this exploration lease brought to light some deficiencies in compliance and enforcement provisions of the Mining Act 1971 that need to be strengthened. In the coming months, I will be giving notice of proposed amendments to the Mining Act. As indicated to this council previously, the government will not contemplate any further ground disturbing activity by Marathon Resources on Exploration Licence 3258, at least until that legislation is in place."
Holloway is clearly trying to buy time: the State government faces an election next March and wants to minimise the impact of the Marathon issue in state politics.
Meanwhile, May Day started at the Marathon offices on Port Road with the discovery that “vandals” (surely as clear a case of the pot calling the kettle black as we are ever likely to find), had daubed the front door and the footpath with some sort of green slime. The capitalist press reports:
A chemical spill at Hindmarsh, suspected to be a protest against mining company Marathon Resources, brought traffic to a standstill today before playing havoc with a mass bikie run to Parliament House.
The pale-green substance, splashed across Marathon's front entrance, was found by employees as they arrived for work this morning.
The spill is believed to be a protest against Marathon's exploration of Mt Gee for uranium deposits.
Cleaning company Graffiti Kill SA was dispatched to clean up the spill, but when cleaner Richard Everson arrived at the scene, he quickly called the Environmental Protection Agency.
"It was giving off a foul smell, like ammonia," Mr Everson said.
Not wanting to risk a fine, he contacted the EPA - but, he says, they were busy.
"The woman I spoke to said it was going to be a while, and that I should call 000."
Emergency crews arrived moments later in over a dozen fire engines, police cars and ambulances, and shut down east-bound traffic on Port Road.
A hazardous materials team, sealed from head to toe in bright yellow chemical suits, entered the exclusion zone and collected samples of the substance.
They could not identify the substance, but determined it was not dangerous.
District officer Kevin Eckermann said that emergency services worked by the book.
"We've always got to assume the worst to protect our personnel and ensure the safety of the public," Mr Eckermann said.
Police later re-opened two of the three inbound lanes on Port Road while fire officers cleaned the spill.
Marathon Resources employees declined to comment, with CEO Peter Williams saying it would be "innappropriate" for him to speak.
Marathon Resources has been exploring Mt Gee, within the Arkoola Wilderness Sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges, for uranium. However, in January 2008, the Minister for Mineral Resources Development suspended the exploration licence after it was found that Marathon had dumped almost 23,000 bags of non-radioactive waste and 20 drums of samples within the sanctuary.
No group has claimed responsibility for the stunt.
And hold those congratulatory emails…it weren’t me!