THE Inverbrackie Creek Catchment Group is concerned that plans by Terramin Australia to potentially expand its exploration could result in a water shortage.
Group chairman Jim Franklin-McEvoy said all aquifer water was allocated before mining exploration began, raising the question as to where water for the mining industry would be found. Most people in the region are reliant on bores for domestic use, as well as on-farm use, and need that water to remain of good quality.
Terramine, the owner of the Bird in Hand goldmine at Woodside, recently announced a new direction for expanding gold exploration on many of its historic tenements in SA’s regions, across 12,000 square kilometres.
Strawberry grower Malcolm Parker, AF Parkers & Sons, Uraidla, has a property within one kilometre of the Woodside mine and is worried about the long-term impacts on his business and that of his neighbours.
“We can live without the gold but we can’t live without the water,” he said.
The ICCG commissioned a study in 2017 that showed the value of agriculture and tourism within the catchment to the state’s economy was nearly $150 million, and nearly 800 full-time equivalent jobs with this expected to reach $170m and 885 jobs by 2021.
Mr Franklin-McEvoy said all that could be put at risk by the mine.
He also believes the uncertainty about future mine developments is holding the region back.
“The mining exploration can be a long, drawn-out process, that can be dragged out for five or 10 years,” he said.
“There are a number of cellar doors wanting to expand or other farm enterprises wanting to invest in infrastructure, but they’re a bit reluctant because they don’t know what will happen with the mine.”
Terramin chief executive officer Richard Taylor said the company would work in with the local community.
“We know the Hills is a beautiful area, with a range of activities, and we believe that re-opening the Bird in Hand Mine as a smart, almost boutique underground mine can be done in a way that integrates into the region and fits into the landscape,” he said.