A Desperate Message from Jackie French

I received this on email today. My parents live in a little rural area called Majors Creek, close to Jackie French's property, and the proposed Dargues Reef Goldmine. The trucks rumbling up and down the road just 15 metres in front of my Mum and Dad's house, are likely to push the little 130 year old building off its ancient foundations.

Have you ever read "Diary of Wombat"? My daughter and I have, and we loved it. Now, the real-life wombat that starred in that story--along with countless other wildlife--is about to lose her home. Read Jackie French's story below. At the bottom, there is a template. Copy that into your email program, and send it to the NSW government to stop this mine going ahead. But act fast! Your email needs to be received by Monday, 1 November, 2010.

Any help you can give is very much appreciated. Please share this information around your friends, and encourage them all to send an email. If not because you know or care about the people of Majors Creek, then to help save the endangered wildlife of the area.

Please help us, the wombats, and the valley. There is only one week left to try to save them. Two weeks ago we were finally given copies of the Environmental Assessment into the proposed Dargues Reef Goldmine at Majors Creek, four kilometres directly upstream from our property and even closer to the Nature Reserve and National Park partially surrounding us. The details revealed in it had not previously been made public.

The Dargues Reef Mine proposes to remove 66.2 megalitres of water per year from the local water table, leading to a drop in ground water levels of between 1.5 and 10.5 metres. This is an extraordinary and devastating amount. Plants take their moisture from groundwater. Without it, they die. Animals drink from springs, fed by groundwater. Without it, they die. The result of taking this amount of water from an ecosystem will mean that it, too, will die.

No studies have been done for the Environmental Assessment on how taking this amount of water will affect the land beyond the actual mine site. There is no mention of the endangered, critically endangered and threatened species in the gorge below the mine, ranging from the Powerful Owl to the critically endangered eucalyptus Kartzoffina.

The mine proposal also includes a 25 metre high tailings dam to just four kilometres above us and the gorge, covering nine hectares. It will contain a toxic sludge that, if the walls break, will sweep everything before it, from our house to every plant and creature in the valley. 'World's best practice' is to have a secondary wall in case the first fails. This is not the case at the proposed Dargues Reef mine.

If this mines goes ahead the animals and plants of the valley may die. The wombat of Diary of a Wombat may die. As for myself- if the bush where I have lived and loved and walked for over 30 years dies around me, then what would be left would not be the Jackie French who had walked and studied and loved the bush community for more than 30 years.

If you have loved Diary of a Wombat; if you want to save the life and environment of the real wombat on whom the story is based; if my writing has moved you in any way and if you feel the need to preserve endangered species, or an area of such rich and varied habitat please email your opposition to the mine by close of business this Friday.

I have walked this land for over 30 years. I have drawn the inspiration for my work from the bush around me. To say I love it is inadequate. I am part of it; without it, the person I am will cease to be.

But I have choices. I can leave if the water turns toxic, if the sludge descends. I can buy water and have it tanked in. The wombats, the wallabies, the Powerful Owls- already isolated by surrounding human farms and settlement and starting to be affected by the environmental impacts of climate change - have no such choice. I owe this place too much not to at least try to defend
it and its inhabitants now.

If you love wombats, the bush, or justice; if you believe that animals have a right to survival despite the benefits to humans from mining gold; if you think that long term investment in the bush, growing peaches or writing books is more valuable than a short term mining gain, spend just five minutes today emailing your objection to the Dargues Reef Mine.

The Dargue's Reef Environmental Assessement can be read at www.planning.nsw.gov.au by following the prompts. If you would like further details about the critically endangered species and grasslands, or the removal of the groundwater, please contact me at jfrench@dragnet.com.au

Please- can you help? Or do you know anyone else who can help?

Any submission will help save the valley, and it's critically endangered species. If you have a spare five minutes, please send your own submission.

Please ask your friends to put in submissions too, by the end of this week.

Submissions should include:
* Your name and address
* The reference number 10 0054
* Whether you support or object to the mine proposal
* The reasons why you support or object to the mine proposal

Submissions much reach the Department of Planning by close of business November 1, 2010

Fax: 9228 6466
Or Emailed to: plan_comment@planning.nsw.gov.au

Jackie's link to NSW Planning above does not take you direct to the information about the mine. If you're having trouble finding it, use this link instead: Dargues Reef Mine - Majors Creek

Possible Submission

Email to: plan_comment@planning.nsw.gov.au

Reference number 10 0054

I object to the proposed Dargues Reef mining project on the grounds that no assessment has been made of the impact on the loss of groundwater beyond the two square kilometer radius of the mine, nor on the fragile and threatened ecosystems below the mine.

I request more time for these and other questions raised by the Environmental Assessment to be investigated, including test bores 2-6 kilometres downstream from the mine site, to test the impact of drilling on the groundwater over a period of a year, to allow for variation in rainfall.

I also request that a detailed assessment be made of endangered, critically endangered and threatened flora and fauna in the four kilometres below the mine site. This also needs a year for completion, as some species are migratory, and others, such as the endangered powerful owl, can only be easily identified in late winter when they are calling.

I also request that a detailed assessment be made of heritage and Indigenous sites 2-6 kilometres down stream from the proposed mine site and the tailings dam.

[Your name]

Submissions must reach the Department of Planning by close of business November 1, 2010.
Fax: 9228 6466; or email: plan_comment@planning.nsw.gov.au