Fears for community if sand mine goes ahead

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

I BELIEVE a proposed yet-to-be approved mineral sands mine won’t give an economic boost by the provision of jobs, as described recently in the media.

But it risks adversely affecting financially viable farming and eco-tourism businesses that currently bring huge economic gains.

The number of jobs it could bring is also uncertain.

The proposal is lauded for providing two flow-on jobs for every mine job, but every agricultural job provides 4.2 flow-on jobs.

The operational length of this proposed mine, is another moving variable.

The mineral sands mine around Balmoral (Western Districts of Victoria) was touted as lasting 20 years.

It operated a mere six years, from 2006-early 2012. Balmoral now has the third lowest income per capita in Victoria.

Agriculture employs twice as many people as the mining industry and contributes more to our overall economy.

Farms are long term businesses; mineral sand mines are not.

Many farms in Glenaladale area and surrounds have been operating since first settlement and will be here in another 150 years’ time provided financial integrity and common sense prevail.

I fear what might happen to the current businesses and people.

Farmers and their families may leave; farms are both a business and a home.

The so-called “increased employment” needs to factor in the potential loss of farming jobs and associated flow on-jobs.

How many of the so-called mine jobs are specialised and not available to locals?

What about the job losses after the mine ceases operation?

I also believe any mine in the Mitchell and Perry River catchments poses a potential environmental risk.