A controversial mine site is seeking government approval from the Baillieu government to reopen at Benambra, north of Swifts Creek in East Gippsland. The original Benambra mine was operated by Denehurst – and now the connections appear – in which our Premier, Ted Baillieu was a shareholder. Click here for the news story.
The main deposits are copper and zinc, but it also contains gold, silver and lead. When prices dropped in the late 1990s, Denehurst walked away a few years later leaving a $6.9M mess for the government (tax payers) to clean up at the Benambra site.
In 2006, Ted Baillieu’s $3.8 million share portfolio seriously compromised him as he stood for election that year. This collapsed mining company was responsible for one of Victoria’s most environmentally damaging mining operations. It destroyed a rare Montane Swamp Complex that was listed under the Commonwealth EPBC Act and the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. The community is very rare in terms of the total area it covers, has a very restricted distribution or has been recorded from only a few localities.
Denehurst plonked its huge tailing dam bang smack on top of this 20ha endangered montane wetland. They only put a $150,000 environmental bond down but left a $7 million mess including a dam full of tailings laced with lead, zinc and copper, acid water leaking from the dam, a site littered with equipment and potentially hazardous materials, and destroyed the habitat of an endangered frog. Much of this still remains a huge disaster area and these toxic loads still overflow into the Tambo River in rain.
There is still a massive cleanup task to be done here but no authority is taking responsibility
The current company planning to reopen the mine is the Independence Group (took over from Jabiru Metals) and is now called the Stockman Project. See this link for more information and ‘Rising metals cause Benambra return’
Their fancy community consultation document (PDF) says it has consulted three local environment groups including EEG. Strange, none of us have been contacted by them or informed of their plans.
Jill / GEG