Barrick Gold plans to build an open-pit mine at Lake Cowal, using cyanide heap leaching to extract the gold. Lake Cowal, in central western New South Wales, is the biggest inland lake in the state. It is protected under two international agreements on migratory birds with Japan (JAMBA) and China (CAMBA), it is also listed on the national heritage register as a significant wetland, and home to many native and endangered species. Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake that floods into the Lachlan river catchments which leads to the Murrumbidgie and Murray Rivers. Lake Cowal is the sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation and holds many artefacts that should not be removed or disturbed. This mine is extinguishing the rights of the Wiradjuri people to practice their religion and spirituality by excluding them from the Lake that is traditionally used for various ceremonies. See www.savelakecowal.org for details.
7 March 2006, 10:05am EST