Sunday, October 11, 2009

Holloway ambiguous, Marathon unhappy

As this website has predicted, SA Resources Minister Holloway has avoided pulling the plug on Marathon Resources, and has instead offered a 12-month exploration license for the company at Arkaroola.

However, there are restrictions on where and how and with whose approval any exploration is to occur.

These restrictions mark a partial but important victory in the campaign to protect Arkaroola from mining in general, and from Marathon’s proposed uranium mine in particular.

However, they do not yet go far enough. Before adding further comment, here is the statement released last Tuesday, 6 October 2009 by Paul Holloway, Minister for Mineral Resources development in the SA Government:

Stricter conditions for Marathon exploration
News Release
Hon Paul Holloway
Minister for Mineral Resources DevelopmentMinister for Urban Development and PlanningMinister for Small Business

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Minister for Mineral Resources Development Paul Holloway said today Marathon Resources remains suspended from major exploration activity on its northern Flinders Ranges tenement despite being offered a subsequent exploration licence that includes tough new conditions.

Mr Holloway says the subsequent licence has been offered to Bonanza Gold, a subsidiary company of Marathon Resources, for an initial term of one year with additional licence conditions.

“These conditions include the requirement for both the Director of Mines and Chief Executive of the Department of Environment and Heritage to jointly approve all (emphasis in original - servethepeople) exploration activities,” he says.

“Early consultation with Arkaroola Management has also been formalised in the new conditions.

“Marathon will need to agree to these new stringent conditions if it wishes to accept the licence extension.”

The Northern Flinders Ranges area has long been identified as having high prospectivity for copper, gold, uranium and other metals. The area is also now recognised for having high prospectivity for the development of geothermal energy. But it is also recognised as an area of unique scenic beauty.

Mr Holloway says a balance has to be struck between the need to preserve environmentally sensitive areas and unique landscapes, including those with high tourist values, with the desire to fully explore the State’s resources potential.

“A comprehensive Environmental Management Framework for the Northern Flinders Ranges is now being developed to achieve this strict oversight of exploration and potential resource development,” Mr Holloway says.

“The framework will guide allowable mineral and energy exploration activities in this environmentally and culturally iconic part of South Australia.”

Mr Holloway says this collaborative project being finalised by the Department for Environment and Heritage and Primary Industries and Resources S.A. identifies sensitive areas that should be excluded from any future exploration and mining.

“There are some parts of the Arkaroola area that should never be open to mining,” he says.

“And there are other parts where mining activity should be heavily restricted to ensure environmental features are not disturbed.”

Mr Holloway says it is essential South Australia has a secure, stable and consistent legislative framework to attract high-risk mining investment to this State.

“Attracting this sort of investment is all the more critical in the current world financial environment,” he says.
Mr Holloway says Marathon’s activities in 2007 involving unauthorised disposal of waste also brought to light some deficiencies in compliance and enforcement provisions of the Mining Act.

Despite the breaches identified in 2007, Bonanza Gold and Marathon remain in compliance with the Mining Act 1971 and conditions of their licence, and are entitled to apply for a subsequent licence.

“A number of changes to the legislation being drafted will strengthen the compliance and enforcement provisions of the Mining Act and the ability of PIRSA to better regulate activities on mineral tenements, including exploration licences,” he says.

“The subsequent licence will only be granted for an initial one year term and all ground disturbing exploration activity on the tenement, which includes Arkaroola, will remain suspended at least until proposed amendments to the Mining Act come into force.

“I am confident that the additional stringent licence conditions, a strengthened regulatory framework and the development of the Environmental Management Framework for the Northern Flinders Ranges will ensure this iconic and mineral-rich region is sensitively managed.”


The positives in this statement are that Marathon “remains suspended from major exploration activity” and that a new license is only offered on conditions that “all exploration activities” be jointly approved by two government departments, giving the Department of Environment and Heritage a say for the first time.

“Early consultation” with the Spriggs as managers of the Sanctuary is also a condition, although experience of “consultations” is that they are generally only a procedural formality provided for window-dressing purposes.

Even so, Marathon’s management cannot be said to have reacted with glee to the announcement. A sour grapes statement from the company indicated only that it would “assess’ the license proposal and respond to the Government within 21 days (see ).

Of particular note in Holloway’s press release is the observation that “some parts of Arkaroola should never be open to mining”.

Our belief is that if this applies to any part of Arkaroola, it must certainly apply to the Mt Gee site, but that, in any case, the integrity of the Sanctuary can only be protected by declaring the whole area off-limits to mining.

It would be perfidious in the extreme if, prohibiting Mt Gee from being the site for a mine, the Government, having bought time until after the next State election in March, and having lulled people into a false sense of security, was to subsequently allow mining in areas less visible to tourists. Marathon has already indicated that it believes that there are such areas.
Their data shows the "hot areas" and has plenty off them out of sight (other side of the hill) of the famous Ridge Top Tour, including the backside of Mt Painter, an area with enormous heritage value of gemstone quality mineralogy.

Marathon’s sour grapes are our sweet nectar, but there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip….

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is all so TOTALLY predictable - its called an unspoken and unholy alliance between the ROCK STAR family and the beneficiaries of SA INC.

A star studded cast of illuminaries ranging from Chris Schacht - the GENERAL ATOMIC corporations arm of said corporation, the paid henchman who did the dirty work of dismantling the ALP's 3 Mines Policy, an inevitable step in the New World Order Plan to spread the dense element across the global the new punk on the Greens scene who said once a upon a time...the $ value of the industry is less than the value of exported cheese!...but slightly more lethal...and we haven't heard much sense from the Green man Fielding has pointed out they are bogged down in the bogus Climate Change and ETS debate...THANK GOD for the Greens, a shame they rabbit the garbage of the major parties and are part of the same virus plaguing democracy and truth in this country.

Back to the charade...the one the Greens are playing, no doubt as part of a cheap vote scoring exercise in the corrupt and insipid preferential voting system that supports cross party contamination in this country...

Are Marathon unhappy? Is it possible for a consortium of bogus business interests to be unhappy?...when the goal of THIS game is to distract attention away from real and actual damage...namely the actual targets that have only been given a few black balloons and occasional lip service from the supposed environmental watchdogs of the country, who are appearing to be a willing party to a simple and cheap scam, which quite frankly has become rather drawn out and boring...the Marathon...lets mine uranium at Mt Gee SCAM ..even though there is ample uranium in rich and accessible deposits right left and everywhere else except at the site of this monumental fraud...MT GEE....Gee!!! What could be the motive...I wonder??...NT fraud revealed and uncovered in small part by same ( Parnell) but never touched again ( ATOMIC DURESS Adynamathana ANZ.Native Title Determination 1..let google and Parnell do the rest.)

The rest of the cast are equally known and predictable and its not hard to link the love of uranium to the rock star family and the support of a damaging operation at Paralana to promote the illegal approval of the 4 Mile Creek...join the dots folks and you have what is not even a conspiracy its a consortium of shared interests that have been protected by a corporatised media that a decade ago would have done this ever so simple service for us - joined the dots and dotted the i's...but NO...Nick Minchin Beverley sign off man joins the fray of the mining magnates and suddenly becomes an ally of the terms of scams this rates very VERY poorly...probably 3/10...if SA INC is going to pull the wool over the public's eyes they should at least have the decency of providing a better and properly hidden plot - this one is ATTROCIOUS by ANY measure!

Shame on the Wilderness Society and the Greens for being party to such an embarrassingly poor affront to
democracy in this country!!!

Bruce Shepherd