Thanks for your letters (Advertiser 6.5) on the proposed mineral sands mines at Glenaladale and Mossiface, the tenor of which I wholeheartedly support. In a submission to the East Gippsland Shire ‘Economic Growth Strategy’ early last year I wrote: “It should be recognized that … there is a conflict between the (Shire’s) directions outlined in the(ir) Sustainability and Economic Growth Strategies. In particular both forestry and mining activities as currently practiced are both unsustainable and are major offenders in terms of carbon emissions. They are the industries likely to suffer most with some form of carbon emissions pricing introduced by a state or federal government. It is therefore wise to direct growth elsewhere where possible.”
I concluded that the mining “industry is carbon intensive. To be sustainable mining projects should be carbon neutral…The energy used to truck the product to the shipping terminal should be considered when calculating their carbon budget… All mining projects should demonstrate their sustainability by being carbon neutral before receiving any support from the Shire.” As well as the energy consumed in mining and transporting the mineral any tree removal should also be considered an integral part of a company’s carbon budget and should be offset. (Although as one Glenaladale farmer recently remarked ‘you don’t get much shade from 200 seedlings!’)
Perhaps enhanced by a strong El Nino, the planet has been warming at an extraordinary rate. The last 4 months around the globe have been, in turn, the hottest ever recorded. The Arctic and parts of the tropics have been experiencing record temperatures and bushfires have forced the evacuation of, and partly destroyed, a large city in Alberta. Somewhat ironically, this city is closely connected with that major greenhouse gas polluter, tar sands mining. (So far this event has generally been ignored in Australia and the media – like our Minister for the Environment – are yet to connect the dots.)
All the major mining projects proposed in East Gippsland over the last decade, at Benambra, Nowa Nowa and now at Glenaladale and Mossiface, appear to be large emitters of Greenhouse gases. Like the Coal Seam Gas projects threatening the Lakes hinterland and much of South Gippsland none of these projects are sustainable. All have other major defects. No wonder our farmers want to ‘Lock their Gates’ to them. The people of East Gippsland should demand thorough and independent Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) be required for each of these projects. Each EIS should also include a Carbon Emissions budget and any mining project that is not carbon neutral should not even be considered.