Compton landowners supported

Concerns raised by Compton residents has prompted Grant District Council to support landowners opposed to nearby mining activities.

This is despite council previously stating it supported ‘in principle’ a mining lease application submitted by local mining company Sandyridge Holdings.

Following a recent meeting with residents, environmental services director Leith McEvoy clarified council’s position.

“We had a constructive meeting and discussion. Council acknowledges and now better understands the concerns being raised by nearby residents,” Mr McEvoy said.

Council staff and elected members met with landholders at the property of Leighton and Debbie Neill to further understand the impact of mining activities on residents.

“Council wishes to highlight and emphasise that its initial ‘in principle’ support of the application was definitely subject to highlighting the need for minimal potential impacts on local residents,” Mr McEvoy said.

“Council would support those eight landowners who have dwellings within 400 metres to exercise their rights and opportunity to oppose mining activities.”

It was highlighted the landholders have the right to do so under the Mining Act 1971.

“Landowners raised concerns there had been little and quite poor consultation with some residents by Sandyridge Holdings,” Mr McEvoy said.

“Council also acknowledges that some residents were critical of council and that it should have also consulted with nearby landowners about the application.”

The local mining company submitted an application to the Department of Energy and Mining in January.

Council received a letter in February from the department informing of Sandyridge Holdings’ intentions.

Both council and landowners agree the consultation period by the department, which ended on March 25, did not allow sufficient time for open and full consideration by all parties.

“Council again strongly requests the department to meet directly with residents and council representatives before making any final decision,” Mr McEvoy said.

He also recommended Sandyridge Holdings be involved in stakeholder meetings to discuss the application.

“Should there be some move by the department to possibly support and approve the application, in some form, then council would advise and require proper site management systems and compliance requirements to minimise all potential impacts on residents,” he said.

Mr McEvoy said this would include, but was not limited to, air quality, noise, litter control, groundwater quality, native vegetation, visual amenity and public health.

“Additional vegetation screening along property boundaries, including the planting of appropriate and more established trees and shrubs, in accordance with a Landscaping Plan agreed to by all parties,” he said.

Other recommendations Mr McEvoy listed were in relation to the proposed Staging Plan.

“Council would change stages 4 and 8 around, so that stages 4 and 5 remain in the central part of the site,” he said.

“Stages 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, being future stages, remain along the eastern and western property boundaries of the site.”

Mr McEvoy’s recommendation included only one pit can be mined and operated at any one given time and when a pit is finished it is immediately rehabilitated.

“The department should engage in rigorous and proactive oversight of mining activities, to ensure full compliance and appropriate ongoing management practices occur at all times,” he said.

Living less than 400m from the Sandyridge boundary, Mr Neill said the site affects him directly.

“There is a 400m buffer zone for some reason. Surely, we have some say what does or does not go on,” he said.

“I sit under my pergola and stand in my kitchen, I look at it every day.”

Mr Neill has been advocating on behalf of fellow landholders, seeking information about the application process.

He said he has contacted the department and has also arranged to meet with Independent Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell in the near future to discuss his concerns.

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