YORKE PENINSULA farmers are being urged to fight against a proposed Rex Minerals expansion of the Hillside mine at Pine Point and Rogues Point.
The company's project could lead to the establishment of a major open cut copper mine with the final open pit 2.4-kilometres long, 1km wide and 450-metres deep.
Documents released by the company estimate the mine could produce more than 110 kilotonnes of copper equivalent a year in its first 10-years.
The company is aiming to commission the project by late 2015 with full production capacity expected the following year.
Fourth generation farmer Brenton Davey, whose property abuts the proposed development, says he has been horrified to learn of the destruction the Rex Minerals project could have on his - and his neighbours' - properties.
"Rex Minerals has bought three freehold farms and originally wanted to purchase three more, but this has now blown out to six freehold farms, a majority of which is for overburden," he said.
"About 3099 hectares of prime agricultural land will be lost.
"Where is it going to end?"
But Rex Minerals community manager Pam McRae-Williams said there were numerous benefits to the Hillside project.
She said the project would generate a significant boost to the local economy through employment and to the state through royalties.
"We will also be employing people - 1000 will be employed during the construction phase, while the permanent workforce will average about 600 for 15-plus years," she said.
In a letter he sent to Stock Journal (see page 16), Mr Davey said 2023ha of the land would be "destroyed" because of waste rock - up to 85 metres high - being dumped on it.
He said the proposed mine had a short-term life, but would cause a long-term, devastating impact on prime cropping land, environment and farming communities.
"It will destroy generations of farming forever," he said.
"Enough is enough, it's time to act."
Mr Davey said under Section 9 of the South Australian Mining Act 1971, exempt land included 'land that is lawfully and genuinely used as a yard, garden, cultivated field, plantation, field or vineyard'.
"The meaning of a cultivated field is land that is being improved, which I am doing all the time because the property is 100 per cent arable," he said.
He said his daughter Alicia, 15, was keen to become the next generation to continue on her family's farming history.
"I want to have the right to farm," Mr Davey said.
"These people are hell-bent on destroying prime cropping land for what will only be a 15-year project.
"It's a waste and it will be land that will be lost forever."
Hillside Community Consultative Group chairman Peter Stockings, who also works part-time for Regional Development Australia, said the group had been run for about 18 months to "try and give the community a better handle on what may or may not happen" if the proposed expansion proceeds.
*Full report in Stock Journal, August 8 issue, 2013.