The owner of the McPhillamy’s gold mine north at the head of the Belubula River, Regis Resources, have taken the first official step in the development of the mine.
Regis Resources general manager NSW Rod Smith said that Regis had submitted a Preliminary Environmental Assessment to the Department of Planning and Environment.
“The PEA will lead to the issuing of the DPE’s Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements which define the scope for the Environmental Impact Statement for the project, which we envisage will be completed later this year,” he said.
“The scope of the EIS will include community and environmental considerations for the project, which are of significant importance to Regis Resources.”
One of the environmental considerations that has already raised concern is the location and operation of the tailings dam.
Bec Price, who lives near the head of the river, said that the tailings dam was located right at the beginning of the catchment for the Belubula River and that she was concerned about contamination.
“Our main concerns are two-fold, the first is that they’re going to disrupt the natural start of the river, at the head waters of the Belubula River, by digging out all the spring fed tributaries where the tailings dam is going to sit,” she said.
Ms Price said that currently the Belubula river was flowing, despite the lack of rain in the region, and it was all coming from the springs located around the proposed mine site.
“Even though it may only be a trickle up there where it begins, by the time they run all the way down to the bridge just out of Blayney we’ve got a river,” she said.
“They’ll be cutting off most of the head water of the river which is underground, and there are not enough of them further down to contribute to the flow.”
Mr Smith said that every effort would be made to divert the water from the springs back into the Belubula.
“Because we’re importing water from Springvale then we don’t have a need to harvest water on site,” he said.
“Our aim is that any water that doesn’t land on our infrastructure we don’t want to interfere with, and the same with the springs there, we just want them to go on their merry way.”
Mr Smith added that Regis had been undergoing further spring surveys around the mine’s location.
“We want to divert those springs into the Belubula wherever it’s possible,” he said.