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Sons of Bavaria to quit the Clarence

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When a Mineral Mining Production Application is lodged, and before a Mining Production Lease is granted or can become Operational, mining companies are required to consult with the community. The lingo is referred to as ‘Social Licence’. 

The Clarence Catchment Alliance (CCA) for the past seven years, has maintained its robust ‘No Mines Clarence Valley’ campaign focused on expressing the community’s ‘No Social Licence’ stance, meeting with leaseholders, local, state and federal leaders, stakeholders, and councils to ensure resident’s voices are heard. 

With the help of local volunteers and community participation, collecting tangible and measurable data to support this stance through petitioning, letter writing, and most recently a land use survey in conjunction with Southern Cross University, has provided undeniable evidence that 70% of the Catchment’s residents are opposed to mining.  

This data and the long-term community collaboration and demonstrations on this issue has contributed greatly to a win for the Clarence water catchment, its rivers and for Ewingar, for now. 

CCA last week, after numerous conversations and meetings with Hans-Werner Kummerow, CEO of mining company Sons of Bavaria Investments, received the following promising and most admirable news from him. 

Sons of Bavaria Investment Australia Pty Ltd (SBI) is fully committed to support all issues that the 2023 Survey Southern Cross University (in collaboration with the CCA) has identified as important to the people who live in the Clarence Catchment. I am convinced that the study has been carried out according to sound academic standards and has led to representative results. Therefore, I shall respect the findings and will pause my activities at Ewingar until a shift in the public perception of my mineral extractive activities occurs… Until that happens, I shall once more assure you that I will not apply for a quarrying or processing license within the Clarence Catchment if there should be any danger to the quality of the water supply. 

The CCA applauds Hans-Werner Kummerow on his sensitive consideration of community concerns and willingness to openly meet, flying from Germany last year to do so.  

The CCA is impressed but surprised at this development. SBI are here to capitalise on the growing need for electric car battery minerals, and to test new mining technology.  

They were applying to the German and the NSW State Government for funding, searching for processing plants in Tenterfield, inquiring about the land surrounding the site and mentioning a plan to send tailings via rail to undercover processing sites. They seemed well on their way to becoming operational so to receive this news is a terrific development for the community. 

“Members of the Ewingar community are long-term members and supporters of the CCA and have a strong backing from residents of Tabulam, and Drake as well,” said Susanne Hopfner, Ewingar resident. 

“We have remained firmly opposed to the mining project by Sons of Bavaria despite enduring the 2019 bushfires and a challenging recovery.” 

According to Hopfner, the community has only one road, inadequate for heavy traffic, and the prospect of hundreds of trucks using this route, including a school bus run, is strongly opposed by residents. 

Shae Fleming, CCA Co-ordinator, added that they are happy to see their community campaign having a positive impact and we thank everyone who has contributed. 

“This is an indefinite cease work brought on by staunch local opinion.” 

“We don’t see that changing any time soon, so it’s a win for now but there is more follow-up to do.” 

According to Fleming, this only 1 out of 40+ exploratory leases held across the Clarence catchment, so the battle continues, but Kummerow has set a great precedent for other company CEOs to follow.  

“We will be capitalising on this by again inviting other companies to meet with us.” 

“This result shows the power of community, and we hope it proves we can make a difference together.” 

Highlighting that they need help to take on the rest, he calls on volunteers to help make a difference together.  

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.

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