Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
IN PARLIAMENT: Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Kavel) (19:44): I am pleased to make some comments in relation to the legislation before the house.
The SPEAKER: Whose electorate is home to the Kanmantoo mine.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: Indeed it is, and I will be making some remarks in relation to that mine in my contribution. As I said, I want to make some remarks in relation to the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill that is before the house. I have listened to contributions made by the shadow minister, the member for Giles and the member for Goyder because I am interested in mining.
As the Speaker has pointed out, there is a fully operational mine at Kanmantoo in my electorate, which I want to make some remarks about. There is also a proposed mining operation at an area called Bird in Hand, which is a couple of kilometres east of the township of Woodside, again located in the electorate of Kavel. As I said, I listened to the speech made by the shadow minister, the member for Stuart, and I understand some of the key and what you could call controversial amendments within the bill. There are a number of them. I do not think I necessarily need to traverse each and every one of them, but I note—and I will talk about this a bit more later on—that, as has been highlighted, the public consultation process in relation to this bill is still running. It does not conclude until 14 November, as I understand it. I am somewhat puzzled that the bill is before the house to be debated and voted on before the public consultation has concluded. I will talk a little bit more about that later on.
The current mining operation at Kanmantoo, the Hillgrove Kanmantoo Copper Mine, has been operating as a fully functional mine for quite a number of years. There was a long process leading up to the commencement of that mining operation in relation to the community consultation process. I became involved pretty much at the very start of that community consultation process. They named it the Kanmantoo-Callington Community Consultative Committee. Colloquially, we call it the KCCCC. It still meets reasonably regularly, but in the early days, before the mining application, the PEPR and so on were approved, it met regularly. As I said, I was involved in that process pretty much from the inception of those meetings. It was a long, drawn-out process. Many concerns and issues were raised. The mining company, Hillgrove, obviously had to address and allay those concerns as well as they could and go through that whole process, a long, drawn-out process. The mining application was approved, the PEPR was approved, and Hillgrove, the mining company, commenced operation in what had been an existing mine site. It is an open-cut mine. An abandoned pit had been there I think from the 1970s. They had mined it up until the seventies and then disbanded. I think the bottom fell out of the copper prices at the time, and they basically walked away and left a lot of the old infrastructure there.
To give a bit of history on the site, it was bought later by a company called Neutrog, which is a garden fertiliser manufacturer. The company bought a lot of the infrastructure on the outskirts of the old mine site and turned it into what has become a very successful business. They not only have their plant there at Kanmantoo but they have operations in South Africa and I think in China, if my memory serves me correctly, but that is digressing slightly from the Hillgrove copper mine. As I said, it is a fully operational mine. It is open cut. They blast, they have big excavating machinery that pulls out the material, they load it into trucks, they cart it out of the pit on the haul roads into the processing plant. They actually produce a copper concentrate that is then trucked from the site, I presume to Port Adelaide, and exported. That operation has been going for quite a number of years. I understand that the mine is still some time away from ceasing its mining operations, but the community consultation committee is starting to look at what might take place in terms of remediation and what have you when the mine does cease operations when it finishes its mining activity. As I said before, there were a lot of issues for the mining company to traverse to come to a resolution, which went to some level to satisfy the community. It is on the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges but in close proximity to the Kanmantoo township. Initially, there were issues in relation to blasting. Some of the blasting was not carried out in accordance with the regulations, practices and procedures, so that had to be worked through.
There has been an ongoing issue with dust. To the credit of the mining company, they have done a considerable amount of work to try to mitigate the dust that emits from the mine site. They have dust monitoring equipment, but I will say that the dust that flies around the district is not just from the mine because there are open grazing paddocks, cropping paddocks and primary production activity, and obviously dust originates from there as well. Dust has been an ongoing issue that we have had to deal with over the period of the mining activity. From time to time, also noise and lighting spill out of the mining area and what have you. Those issues were not insignificant and they continue not to be insignificant, but I think the KCCCC has operated quite well in relation to community engagement and the way it has sought to address those issues. The mining company, to its credit, has been very accessible and informative, providing a lot of information at those community consultative meetings, so I think it has tracked along probably as best as it could have. If anybody has studied the redistribution maps, that part of Kavel to the east has actually been cut out of the electorate of Kavel and is going into the electorate of Hammond.
The SPEAKER: Indeed.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: So the member for Hammond, on his re-election next year, will assume the responsibility for that part of the district—a very good part of the district. Kanmantoo and Callington are great smaller communities within the electorate.
The SPEAKER: Harrogate.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: Harrogate is a bit farther to the north, Speaker.
The SPEAKER: But it is moving electorates.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: Indeed. I do not want to digress too much, encouraged by the Speaker. I know he is an Argus of knowledge when it comes to electoral maps, electoral districts and the like.
The SPEAKER: I know; we have been having street corner meetings there.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: I know, I have heard about it—and there was only one person who came along!
Mr Williams: There's only one Labor voter in Kavel.
The SPEAKER: There were two at Harrogate, both sheep farmers.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: My intelligence network spreads far and wide, and I have had feedback about the Speaker and the member for Wright hosting some Labor Party meetings in the eastern part of the electorate, and only one person went to a couple of those meetings. He was pretty lucky because he had the total attention of the Speaker and the member for Wright. I was not necessarily going to raise that but—
The SPEAKER: The member for Hammond, Matt O'Brien.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: —the Speaker took me there. Callington and Kanmantoo are great communities within the district. Callington has just enjoyed its 16th annual show last Sunday and, as the local member, it has been an honour to attend every one of those 16 shows at Callington. The member for Hammond was there, and he had his stand set up. The weather was a bit against the whole set-up—it was stormy, it was windy and we were covered in a fair bit of dust—but the member for Hammond had icy poles, and he was giving them out to all the kiddies who would come along and to anyone who wanted a cool icy pole.
Mr Griffiths: Eight hundred.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: Eight hundred, says the member for Goyder, so that was a bit of a hit with the people attending the Callington Show. It was a credit to the president and the organising committee of the show—all outstanding volunteers—that it is such a success.
In relation to the Bird-in-Hand project, that is a proposal to mine gold. It is a different mining activity, as it is proposed to be an underground mine. Gold was mined there back in the late 19th century, in the 1880s, and there are several old disused shafts in that area. A company called Terramin Australia has the tenement, and they are developing a mining proposal for that operation. Again, a community consultative committee has been established, the Woodside Community Consultative Committee (the WCCC). Although not in its infancy, the composition of that committee has only recently been established and is now getting on to dealing in a more in-depth manner with those issues that the community and local landowners are concerned with, and I think the shadow minister spoke briefly in relation to that in his contribution.
I would like to thank the shadow minister because he came along to the very first meeting that was held at the Woodside Bowling Club to support me, as the local member, as did Dan Cregan, the endorsed Liberal candidate for Kavel. Mr Cregan and I have been regular attendees at the WCCC meetings pretty much from their inception. There are real concerns within the local community about the proposed mine at Bird-in-Hand, and they relate to dust, noise, transport issues, impact on the local amenity and—what is really, in my view, the most crucial issue—any potential impact on the underground aquifer because there are a significant number of agricultural, viticultural and horticultural businesses that rely on that aquifer. My understanding is that there is potential for the underground mining activity to have a potential impact on that aquifer.
Through the course of community consultative committee meetings, the mining company has given overviews of how they propose to deal with that. They have done a lot of work. I will give credit where credit is due: they have done a lot of work on that and engaged the services of a company that specialises in hydrology. They have done some extensive modelling in relation to the potential impact mining may have on the underground aquifer system there. It is theory, and we all know that theory can differ considerably from that which we experience in practice.
There are some concerns, and I have to say that I understand and share the concerns of the local community. Again, Mr Dan Cregan, the endorsed Liberal candidate for Kavel, has been regularly attending the community meetings, and he has also been quite active in discussing these concerns with the local community. I encourage anybody within that local community, and in a broader context as well, to provide feedback. It is my understanding that the minerals and energy group within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet will soon commence an independent community feedback process, which will be advertised by the government. When that is advertised, I certainly encourage everyone to provide their feedback in relation to this proposed mining activity.
The mining company, Terramin Australia, has not lodged an application as yet. We are certainly in in the pre-lodgement period of an application. The local community is raising a considerable number of concerns. High-value industry is neighbouring either side of the proposed mine site. There is a big facility owned by Accolade Wines—the Petaluma winery. On the other side of the proposed mine site is the Bird in Hand winery and function centre and facilities. There are some high-value viticulture, tourism and other related activities on the neighbouring properties of the proposed mine site. There are other premium commercial activities as well within reasonable proximity. It is not any sort of mystery or secret that there is some contention and concern about the proposal to commence mining activities. As I said, it is an underground mine, but there certainly will be activity on the surface. There will be stockpiling of rock, there will be the carting of the ore from the site, so there will be activity on the surface, not just underground. As I said, there are issues with noise, transport, trucks and dust.
In relation to this legislation, submissions have been made by the Inverbrackie Creek Catchment Group. That is one of the local organisations that is extremely concerned about the proposed mine at Bird in Hand. Unfortunately, time has gotten away from me and I will not be able to read any of the submissions into the record. In conclusion, as I said earlier in my contribution, the public consultation process has not concluded and it will not conclude until 14 November. In view of that, I am giving consideration to not supporting the bill.