THE Greens have been attacked for suggesting Orange City Council’s proposed Macquarie River pipeline will end up being used to pump water to Cadia Valley Operations.
NSW Greens mining spokesperson Cate Faehrmann and upper house candidate Jeremy Buckingham yesterday claimed the $47 million pipeline could act as a backdoor access to the Macquarie River for Cadia Valley Operations.
“The mine has already come to the city and asked for water previously when in a difficult situation, the mine is likely to run for the next 30 to 40 years and they’re likely to have more issues with water supply,” said Mr Buckingham, who is also a member of Orange City Council.
“If the pipeline option is on the table, why wouldn’t they look at it?
“The pipeline will be sitting there dormant a lot of the time, the council will be seeking to make a commercial return on that infrastructure and they could do that by selling water to whoever needs it and that might be Cadia.”
Their claims were immediately refuted by mayor John Davis and Newcrest Mining Limited, the owners of Cadia Valley Operations.
However, Cr Davis could not provide a guarantee the the pipeline would never be used to transfer water for mining.
“I’m not going to speculate on anything because I can only deal with what’s in front of us,” he said.
“That’s not ducking the question, I’m just saying the fact is you’d have to see the circumstances at the time but I’d think the mining industry could look after themselves.”
Cr Davis said Cr Buckingham was more interested in his quest to become a member of the NSW upper house than he was representing ratepayers.
“This just goes to show he’s succumbed to party policies and is just one of the boys,” Cr Davis said.
Newcrest services general manager Tony McPaul said the mine’s expansion was approved along with permission to expand its on-site storages.
“That work is underway and when it is complete we would not envisage needing to source any additional water over and above our existing licences,” he said.
“Cadia has had no discussions with Orange City Council in relations to accessing water through the proposed Macquarie River pipeline.”
Orange City Council general manager Garry Styles reaffirmed the pipeline would not be used for mining.
“There are no plans now or into the future to sell water from it to Cadia,” Mr Styles said.
“The whole intention behind this pipeline is to secure water supply for residents of Orange.”
The Greens have nominated an expansion of Lake Rowlands near Blayney as key to improving Orange’s water security.
Mr Buckingham denied that was hypocritical given major studies have proposed Cadia Valley Operations could tap into Lake Rowlands.
“That decision (to sell water to the mine) would be up to whoever is managing Lake Rowlands and I think it would be far less likely a body that controls Lake Rowlands would supply water to a mine compared to Orange City Council which has a history of supplying water to it,” he said.