The New South Wales Parliamentary Inquiry into “current and potential impacts of gold, silver, lead and zinc mining on human health, land, air and water quality in New South Wales” has concluded with its final report published on Friday 15 December 2023.
The findings and recommendations of the Inquiry highlight the importance of mining to the New South Wales economy, the rigorous nature of the planning approval processes as well as the robustness of the regulatory bodies that administer the industry. The report also highlights the importance of the metalliferous mining industry’s role in the transition to net zero.
In the Company’s view, the findings and recommendations will not result in any material change for the development or production operations of the Bowdens Silver Project.
For instance, certain recommendations have been made for the mining industry and if put into effect by the Government, will not alter the development or production operations of the Bowdens Silver Project. As an example, the Inquiry has recommended more detailed environmental monitoring for the mining industry, however, this will not affect Bowdens Silver as we have committed to best practice for our comprehensive monitoring systems and thorough management and environmental plans.
The Inquiry published the following findings:
- That mining is a significant industry for the New South Wales economy, employing 4,000 workers contributing $28.8 billion in Gross State Product and providing $4.65 billion in government revenue from royalties. Mining plays a significant role in regional economies in local employment, and supporting local community groups.
- That metals and minerals mining is of particular importance for the transition to net zero and for Australia’s sovereign capability. Use of NSW’s mineral resources provides significant export opportunities as well as the potential to develop and expand domestic processing and manufacturing of these minerals.
- The Environment Protection Authority operates under a regulatory framework which generally includes a strong toolkit with which to regulate pollution incidents.
- The maximum penalty of $15,000 for Tier 3 offences under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 is often inadequate and can fail to act as a deterrent to large or multinational companies.
- That water metal level testing conducted by the Environment Protection Authority concludes drinking water near the Cadia mine is within the National Safe Water Guidelines.
- That there may be a concern for the quality of water within tanks throughout the state.
- That recent soil testing conducted by the EPA drew the same results as soil testing conducted prior to Cadia’s construction.
- That the regulatory bodies work across the mining sector and the detailed frameworks they administer, are fundamentally sound.
The entire report and recommendations to government can be found here.