Chalice Mining’s worksite at 229 Keating Road where the company has announced plans to create a massive open-cut mine measuring nearly two kilometres across, 1.5km wide and more than half a kilometre deep on a scale similar the world-famous Kalgoorlie Superpit.
By concerned local residents*
IF YOU were to believe Chalice Mining’s marketing hype about its latest discovery of palladium in Julimar and its “world class”, “low impact” and “leading exploration techniques that recognise environmental sensitivities,” you could be forgiven for thinking it’s the next lean green cure for the state’s climate and cash-flow woes.
Until, that is, you ask the local residents like us who live on the doorstep of this planned behemoth.
Chalice Mining’s public relations strategy trumpets “community engagement” as one of its “top priorities”.
Well, we the residents beg to differ.
We built our dream homes in Julimar for its unrivalled peace, tranquility, stunning star-filled clear skies and natural bush habitat long before Chalice Mining arrived at our doorstep.
This truly “world class” part of the world is blessed with spotted quolls, red-tailed black cockatoos, echidnas, emus and a host of wildflowers.
Chalice Mining recently boasted that there will be at least “$18 billion forecast contribution to gross state product, including royalties and direct economic contributions to the region” with “everyone benefitting” from such lofty returns.
As landowners who live within a radius of three kilometres from the site, we now have 24/7 noise, light pollution, and traffic.
Our houses are covered in dust all through summer because of a massive increase in mine-related traffic on local gravel roads.
Our already pot-holed and rutted access to the wider world is not designed for the frequency or size of the vehicles it is now carrying, and this is before construction or actual mining has even begun.
We shudder to think of the permanent health implications for children and adults who live in the area.
From October to April, a layer of dust covers our homes, our drinking water and the vegetables we grow, and we are breathing it in every day.
When mining does start and millions of tonnes of waste will pile up in large tailings dumps, with the dust will likely contain silica by-products and fibrous materials akin to asbestos.
If dust pollution is already an issue, imagine how much more will this be amplified in the years ahead?
What long-term, perhaps even deadly, effects or outcomes will we face?
The occasional misleading email, a “tour” of the site with sandwiches, and a questionable survey which included ‘locals’ from Northam, Bindoon and Bullsbrook does not constitute local community engagement.
Our complaints about aircraft flying directly overhead, constant noise and light pollution go unheeded.
We have strange and uninvited vehicles entering our bush properties and contractors running residents off the road and scaring our animals.
The constant stress and anxiety from knowing that our plans for creative income, retirement and the loss of the serenity that we once enjoyed is all-consuming.
While we understand that you cannot stop progress and one can see that this project will be a financial boon for our local shire, State Government and Australian economy, we appear to be acceptable collateral damage.
If Chalice Mining is as community-minded as it says, you would think it would have engaged with us to offer compensation commensurate with the value it has placed on its Julimar mineral deposit.
When Chalice Mining shareholders reap the benefit from this publicly owned resource, remember that digging a massive open cut mine in our backyard comes at the expense of the forest, endangered animals and the locals who were here first.
To finish, here are a few words from Chalice.
“Chalice has engaged early, actively and transparently to build respectful and collaborative relationships with stakeholders.
“Chalice is committed to achieving lasting social and economic benefits for the communities in which we operate.”
*Names and addresses supplied.