Farmers firing up over mining laws

posted in: Save Our Food Bowl | 0

YORKE Peninsula farmers claim they are being burnt by the state’s mining laws and want a complete overhaul of government rules to protect prime land from explorers.

Yorke Peninsula farmers claim SA’s mining laws are burning landowners Adelaide Now

As the current review of the Mining Act 1971 unfolds, Pine Point farmer Alex Clift said his family’s property Mundutha bordered the Rex Minerals mine site that they feared would destroy valuable farming land.

“I would like to see some extremely harsh rezoning laws, it’s very much an agricultural and tourism area here, mining will last 15 years but we can keep farming forever, we have to look at the big picture,” the fourth generation farmer, who works alongside his father Andrew and mother Carolyn, said.

Mr Clift, who has been burning stubble to plant the new season’s lentil crop, said there were currently two mining projects on Yorke Peninsula, the Rex Minerals copper project and the Marmota exploration project.

Latest figures showed 95 per cent of Yorke Peninsula was subject to mining exploration licences.

“The other thing that needs to be added to it is the end date of exploration, at the moment if a company doesn’t start mining, if someone else bought this property they could go on and start drilling and scoping it out,” Mr Clift said.

The Yorke Peninsula Land Owners Group, which has more than 300 members, has lodged its own submission in the mining act review being overseen by the Department of State Development (DSD).

It called for a completely new process to be started and overseen by an independent body, “which acknowledges and investigates the considerable landowner and community disadvantages inherent in the current system”.

The group claimed the current review “ fails to come to grips with growing community opposition to mining in settled and highly productive rural regions.”

Meanwhile, Grain Producers SA has called for a new meeting with the DSD with chief executive Darren Arney saying the group was keen to “see this progressing along”.

The group held a public meeting earlier in the year at Maitland on the Yorke Peninsula to hear farmers’ concerns but its own submission fell short of calling for land to be zoned and blocked to mining.

Instead, Mr Arney said, it wanted a sliding scale of royalties paid to landowners if mining progressed, based on their property’s economic value.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis welcomed further discussions with communities “as we seek to achieve balanced and fair limits and buffer zones in relation to mining and exploration”.

“That is why we are undertaking this mining review and I encourage farmers to engage with that process and make their concerns known to the department,” he said.

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