Barnett may be considering Horizontal collaboration: Greens

Colin Barnett’s commitment to protect the West Kimberley’s Horizontal Waterfalls from mining operations is wavering, Greens MLC Robin Chapple said today.

“In August this year the Premier stated that he “supported protecting parts of the west Kimberley, including the Horizontal Waterfalls in Buccaneer Archipelago” but he now seems to be hedging his bets.”

“At the recent Pegasus Metals AGM the company made the claim that the Premier was supporting their copper mining project at Horizontal Waterfalls.”

“I followed up this statement with a Parliamentary Question as to whether Mr. Barnett would protect the area from copper mining, and the Premier’s answer was ambiguous as far as protecting the area is concerned.”

“Mr. Barnett’s answer was that the EPA declined to formally assess Pegasus exploration activity near the Waterfalls due to their low impact, despite both the exploration camp and drill site being very close to the waterfalls and visible from the air.”

“Local tour operators are not happy that a mining exploration site is clearly visible in an area long advertised, and regarded as, pristine.  This is the beginning of the end for a tourism icon if the exploration is allowed to proceed, to say nothing of ongoing environmental impacts.”

“What is most outrageous about Mr. Barnett’s answer is that he concedes that his government will consider any proposal from Pegasus to mine the area, rather than reject it outright.”

“This flies in the face of the Premier’s prior commitment to protect the Horizontal Waterfalls from mining activity, and the Heritage Listing of the area by the Commonwealth.   He appears to be playing both sides on the matter and in the process, endangering one of the country’s great environmental and tourism areas.”

“According to the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs, the State's position is that ‘no exploration and mining will be allowed around the Horizontal Falls that would in any way compromise the environmental and tourism values of the Falls.’  Anyone who has been to the site would recognise that this should preclude any exploration or mining at all.”

“Mr. Barnett needs to clarify his position to both Pegasus and the local business people whose livelihoods depend on a viable, pristine future for the Horizontal Waterfalls.”

Click here for Mr. Barnett’s response to Mr. Chapple’s Parliamentary Question (PDF).

Click here for the the full text (PDF) of the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs letter regarding mining at the Horizontal Waterfalls.

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255

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