CHIEF MINING WARDEN'S INQUIRY - OPA 4
Landholders failed to appear at the third hearing in respect to Opal
Prospecting Area 4, which was held on Tuesday 7 December 2004. The purpose of the hearing was to set a timetable to further inspect those valuable improvements that are in dispute but as neither landholders nor their legal representative attended this was not possible.
The LRMA and GGSMA's legal representative requested that the Chief Mining Warden set a date for the Inquiry to commence. The Inquiry will be held on 15 February 2005 and the Warden will hear legal arguments on what constitutes a valuable improvement and what may or may not be excluded from Opal Prospecting Area 4. Valuable improvements such as homesteads, woolsheds and stockyards are not in dispute but other items claimed by the landholders such as catchment areas and flood refuges are in dispute and the LRMA does not believe these are improvements under the Mining Act. After hearing all the evidence the Chief Mining Warden will then make his recommendations to the Minister for Mineral Resources.
The Lightning Ridge Mining Board at their meeting in late November agreed to the introduction of a $20 environmental levy on the grant and renewal of mineral claims. The levy will be introduced from 1 January 2005. The LRMA have been advocating an environmental levy for the past five years and now legislation is in place to enable this to happen.
The purpose of the levy is to rehabilitate whole fields once mining
activity has diminished, including off claim impacts and for setting up,
maintaining and rehabilitating waste dumps. The final details of the application of the levy will be negotiated between the Department of Primary Industries, Mineral Resources and the LRMA and GGSMA. The LRMA will be arguing for the levy to always remain at $20 on the basis that miners will assist with trucks etc, rehabilitating the fields where they were working.
NATIONAL OPAL SYMPOSIUM 2005
The 4th National Opal Symposium 2005 will be held in Lightning Ridge on 26 & 27 July 2005. So before you all head off for the summer holidays please put these dates in your diary for next year.
NATIONAL OPAL MINERS ASSOCIATION
Miners associations from NSW, Qld and SA held the first meeting, by
telephone, of the National Opal Miners' Association last Monday. The
meeting agreed to the Symposium dates and also agreed to the preparation of a plan to promote opal. The election of a President of the National Opal Miners' Association will be deferred until the delegates have an opportunity to meet face to face at the Opal Symposium. All of the State miners associations agreed there were many issues we have in common, the primary one being access to land, and it would benefit the whole industry to have a national voice.
During this spate of wet weather we ask all miners to please keep off the roads that are not designated wet weather access, especially the Coocoran Lake Road. There are a couple of roads along the ridges that can be used for wet weather but other than that please keep off. The miners pay for the maintenance of these roads and it will cost extra to repair them not to mention the inconvenience of getting bogged.
Lightning Ridge Miners' Association Ltd
PO Box 177
Lightning Ridge NSW 2834
Ph: (02) 6829 0427; Fax: (02) 6829 0830
Mob: 0427 920 474
26 March 2006 05:53pm