Mining - To be or not to be? A comment by Ken Grundy on Viv Forbes article
Correspondent Viv Forbes makes valuable contributions to On Target but some of his remarks in On Target Vol 55 No 32 deserve a comment.
Viv might have a miner’s approach to these matters, where any useful mineral should be dug up and used or exported to generate jobs or wealth etc. His claim that solid hydro-carbon resources cannot be used without disturbing other resources such as soils, vegetation and stored water is a valid one but he then complained about destructive laws that give priority to coal seam gas, water and arable land resources. Farmers could be relocated; forests can be replanted and top soils can be set aside, Viv said.
As a farmer, I can affirm that farmers have often been on a property for generations and established their own imprint on the place and are reluctant to shift no matter what compensation is offered. Also my particular area enjoys reasonable levels of good quality underground water which supplies townships, industry, stock and domestic drinking water as well as irrigation. We have no reservoirs; no rivers and the soil strata below the surface is generally soft limestone. To potentially risk such important aquifers by ‘fracking’ is simply out of the question.
The other question which seems very important is protecting some resources for the future. Why should we create a future quarry by hastily mining our assets? Again quoting my own location where gas exploration is under way - the gas will not be available to the locals - it goes to the metropolis or more likely overseas. Gas supplies are vast and often in locations where risks involved with mining are minimal. Let us use them and sparingly too!