Over 50 people have been lead to the edge of Barrick Gold Corporations mine site by Wiradjuri Traditional Owners of the Lake Cowal area in a ceremony to cleanse the land and to stop mine operations.
“Wiradjuri cultural items and places have been damaged and destroyed including tens of thousands of stone artifacts, ancient ceremonial areas, marked trees, and traditional camp and tool-making sites to make way for this mine” stated Neville Chappy Williams, Traditional Owner, Mooka/Kalara United Families within the Wiradjuri Nation, Lake Cowal.
“Barrick has stolen more than 10,000 artifacts from the mine area, but has refused to release details and to hand them back.”
Supporters have traveled from Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Brisbane, Tasmania and local areas Orange, Condobolin and Forbes to support the Wiradjuri struggle against Canadian owned mining giant Barrick Gold. This is the seventh gathering to take place over the 10 years of the Save Lake Cowal campaign.
Among the supporters is Greens Councilor, Jeremy Buckingham, “I am here in solidarity with Wiradjuri in protecting their cultural heritage. Along with the desecration of culturally significant sites these huge open cut mines drain local ground water.”
“Since Cadia mine near Orange started up, flows in what used to be permanent creeks are reduced to a couple of weeks a year.”
Long-term Lake Cowal campaigner, Mia Pepper stated “It is an abuse of Wiradjuri culture and an abuse of Murray-darling water on a huge scale, using up to 17 million litres of water a day. Meanwhile 6,090 tonnes of cyanide travels 1600 kilometers to Lake Cowal every year from Orica’s plant in Gladstone, Queensland.”
“Barrick Gold Corporation also stands as a climate criminal - it takes approximately 12 tonnes of CO2 to produce 1kg of gold.”
Neville Chappy Williams has recently won an injunction in stopping the expansion of the mine that would double it’s size. He also represents the Mooka/Kalara United Families who are opposed to mining on their sacred lands and have a Native Title claim in the Federal Court.
Recent aerial photos of the mine in Lake Cowal can be seen at: http://www.savelakecowal.org/recent-aerial-photos-barrick-golds-mine-lake-cowal
Please contact Natalie Lowrey for high res versions, natalie.lowrey[at]foe.org.au