Livestock SA's SE mining concerns

LIVESTOCK SA's SE group has expressed concerns about mining practices on agricultural land.

At its inaugural meeting at Lucindale last week, the topic of mining was discussed with an aim to form a group position on the issue.

Convening chair and Livestock SA vice-president Jack England reported that Primary Producers SA had released a mining and gas statement of principles. 

This statement said: "It is vital the decision-making on mining and gas projects is underpinned by a robust knowledge base and that local communities are well infomed to determine their own positions on proposals.

"Local communities should have their interests respected and not overridden or ignored by outsiders."

Mr England also highlighted Primary Industries and Regions SA's 2011-12 economic value figures that showed 41.8 per cent of the region's gross regional product, totalling $1438.2 million, came from the primary industries sector.

Of that, $778.9 million came from the agriculture industry alone with $289.9 coming from other primary industries and $369.4 million coming from associated manufacturing.

In light of these figures Taratap's Debbie Nulty, also a member of the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance and a strong anti-mining campaigner, spoke against the mining industry encroaching on agricultural land.

"If they (the mining companies) affect the aquifer they contaminate your water," she said. "They contaminate your livestock.

"If we get mining on our property how do we fill out our vendor declaration? Who is going to buy that?"

Mr England urged caution, deterring any arguments to absolutely condemn or endorse mining operations in the region.

"Because we represent everybody we can't go around being a judge and jury on this," he said.

He pointed out that some organic farmers have continued to do business as usual in the presence of coal seam gas mining on SA's Eyre Peninsula.

"There are people for it," Mr England said. "And there are people against it."

Mrs Nulty was not moved.

"Just because the Eyre Peninsula is happy..." she said

Mr England interjected: "I'm not saying that, I'm saying there are some people who are.

"We're not in a position to gather all the evidence."

Millicent's Peter Altschwager suggested the meeting call on Primary Producers SA to support SELGA's moratorium on unconventional gas extraction until more research had been done.

Rob England agreed.

"We should be pressuring the government and supporting SELGA," he said. "We're the people with skin in the game."

Other issues surrounding mining included concerns about the government being both the regulator and promoter of the industry and the five year waiver of royalties on any production.

In light of all this the meeting moved that Livestock SA condemn any moves by the State Government to permit any unconventional gas extraction in the SE, including fracking, without a comprehensive evaluation of the threat such practices pose to existing natural resources and land management practices.

Livestock SA's SE group expressed its concerns with mining on agricultural land at its inaugural meeting at Lucindale last week.

Livestock SA's SE group expressed its concerns with mining on agricultural land at its inaugural meeting at Lucindale last week.