Coastal Sun December 20th 2001 – Charcoal Site Not Studied

Charcoal site not studied – Nye

By Heather Tindale (Published in the Coastal Sun 20 December 2001)

Environmental Resources Management Australia (ERM), the company hired to produce an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for Australian Silicon has been questioned about its claim that the Mogo Aboriginal Land Council (MALC) assisted in carrying out an archaeological investigation of the charcoal site.

The Coordinator of the Mogo Lands Council, Fred Nye stated that MALC was not told the site was intended for a charcoal factory.

He outlined the sum total of contact that the Council had with ERM. It consisted of “2 cursory phone calls (during which the callers did not adequately identify themselves and the purpose of their work), 3 cursory facsimiles and one brief site visit with a junior member of our staff. Mr Nye said he was “astonished to find the following paragraph (O.3) in the EIS:

The MALC were also asked to assess the cultural significance of the study area. Their report outlining the site investigation and their views on the metallurgical carbon plant is presented in Appendix A.

There was no Appendix A.

Fred insists, “the MALC did not prepare any such report nor do they recall being invited to prepare any such report. The statements are grossly misleading and should be corrected.

“Paragraph O.10 says recommendations have been formulated in conjunction with Mogo MALC. This is quite fanciful. It was not involved in the formulation of any such recommendations.

Mr. Nye is especially concerned that Appendix O makes reference to him. He feels the comments could suggest his active involvement in and support for the project. “They may have some capacity to lower the high esteem in which he is held in the community.

Mr. Nye thinks this may be actionable.

The Mogo MALC issued this statement: “The processes carried out in producing Appendix O were grossly deficient and comments of that Appendix are grossly misleading. Mogo MALC urges that an EIS with such serious defects should not be approved until such time as appropriate and comprehensive indigenous consultation has occurred.

“On the basis of the information presently before it; it should be clearly understood that Mogo MALC opposes the establishment of the charcoal plant. Dennis Zines, spokesperson for ERM said an “archaeological survey has been conducted and the EIS clearly states this.

Mr Zines admitted that ERM had not received report from the Mogo Lands Council. However, the company was expecting one and saved a place for it. “I think it would have been more sensible if we said in the EIS, that we contacted Mr Nye on seven occasions requesting his input and that no report had been received, he conceded.

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