BHPG frustrated and disappointed after gold mine meeting

A public meeting held by the BHPG in May 2019.
A public meeting held by the BHPG in May 2019.

Confusion regarding the approval processes around the McPhillamy's Gold Project north of Blayney has come into play after a planned meeting at the Blayney Community Centre on October 12 was cancelled by the Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment.

A department spokesperson said in a statement that the Department was undertaking further consultation with Blayney Shire Council, community groups and local residents as part of its assessment process and no public meetings are planned.

"A meeting had been booked at the community centre but was cancelled out of concerns for safety due to COVID-19 after one of the groups sent an open invitation via social media," the statement read.

"The Department was able to make alternative arrangements to meet with relevant stakeholders and is happy to meet directly with any other groups prior to finalising its assessment."

The president of the Belubula Headwaters Protection Group Dan Sutton said that members of the BHPG were able to meet for two hours with DPIE staff in King's Plains on Monday afternoon but left feeling "frustrated and disappointed".

Mr Sutton added that the BHPG wants to know what the processes and procedures are regarding monitoring if the mine was to go ahead.

"Who enforces Regis Resources claims and assertions or the conditions and restrictions that are imposed by the department?" Mr Sutton asked.

"That was the interesting part of the chat because we were trying to get a straight answer as to who enforces all these matters.

"The response was that the Environmental Protection Authority monitors it while the DPIE will oversee what they say they will do.

"At the end of the day if Regis don't do what they say they will, we couldn't get a straight answer on what the DPIE will do."

After two hours of interrogation Mr Sutton said questions regarding their three main concerns: dust, noise and visual amenity, were no clearer to being answered and the community had a right to know what was happening.

"There won't be any [further] public meetings. The department has said it will seek out and talk to specific residents and groups that made submissions, but it seems for everyone else it's tough luck," he said.