The sorry tale of Lake Disappointment

Submitted: Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 09:17
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There is an interesting article in the Fairfax Press today about the machinations within the Martu people of Jigalong and Parrngurr. Lake Disappointment is one of the Martu people’s most sacred sites, a place of dreamtime stories that tell of dangerous cannibal beings lurking in the lake.

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The elders have proscribed the mining of potash from the lake since it was discovered because of the lake's cultural significance. However, mining interests have bought off influential people and used them to circumvent the clear wishes of the elders. Millions of dollars has been drip fed to members of the communities. Needless to say, none of the millions has made a cracker of difference to the things that really matter.

Anyway, I thought this article might be of interest to those who have travelled the CSR, or visited Rudall River NP. It certainly explains some of the strict permit conditions applying to tracks running off the CSR. Of course, they don't apply to the miners seeking to dig up the most sacred site.

Bob
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Reply By: Joe Fury - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 13:35

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 13:35
G'day Bob

This is just another slippery deal made without much public knowledge or consultation, yet it will affect just about everyone who travels the stock route and it will most definitely affect the Martu people in a very negative way ~ for ever!

The same can be said in regard to Weeli Wolli Springs because of the mine dewatering process that's been going on for several years already, the natural water percolating to the surface of of the earth at the springs is already decreasing in volume and it will possibly cease to be a natural spring.

The very latest slippery deal we are having live with here in the Pilbara, is the High voltage power line being established from Newman to the Roy Hill mine, this eyesore will parallel the Great Northern Highway from Newman up the Marble Bar road around 140 km's to this mine, you and all who may travel this route up into the inland Pilbara will never see or experience the beauty of the Red Gorge Mesa country between Roy Hill station and Nullagine, as now a new bitumen road bypasses the gorge and Mesa country this is to facilitate the extraction of iron ore in the southern reaches of the Chichester Range.

I have in the past been "moderated" on various forums for expressing my views on the mining industry, but as I actually live in the Pilbara, I see and experience the good the bad and the ugly on a daily basis, but very sadly the bulk of Australia's population is apathetic about anything outside of their immediate "comfort zone" and if it not in their face it must be okay !

There are various articles available on line regarding Weeli Wolli Springs and Roy Hill and now this power line ~ Google the main title(s) and read what's there.

Safe travels : Joe Fury
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 15:21

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 15:21
As far as I am concerned Joe...the more you stick it to the curse that call them selves responsible miners the better. Corporate greed is going to see Oz go down the gurgler very quickly...
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Follow Up By: Joe Fury - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 16:27

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 16:27
G'day Bigfish

I am not against mining or commerce and industry in the Pilbara, but by the heck it makes me angry when so, so much is allowed to happen in respect of mining which is of course the primary employer in the region and today the backbone of Australia's economy.

I can not dispute the positive things coming to the regional towns in the Pilbara via the good will of various mining industry grants and projects, but for the life of me I can't accept how easily and quickly this progress of the mining industry goes on unchallenged.

It seems like "shut up and get out of the way", we are allowed to do this!!

The Roy Hill mine power line is going ahead and no one or anything short of a meteorite impact on the power station at Newman is going to stop it from happening because it's good for mining and all forms of government in a revenue windfall, but I doubt if the little town of Nullagine will ever have one kilowatt of power delivered to it via this power transmission line. To their credit there was a seven day (7) public consultation period in place for the power line, no objections were tabled, yet the Kennedy brothers (Roy Hill Station owners) are against the whole thing?

I have only in the past few days returned home after a couple of weeks down south, and what struck me the most in a negative way is the amount of mining and mining related work going on along the Great Northern Highway (south) and I mean drilling crews working virtually up to the edge of the tar?

Gas fracking has being allowed to proceed in the Canning Basin ~ Great Sandy Desert ~ but how many people outside of the local region even know about this dubious practice which has the potential to contaminate the ground water aquifers.

Right now, at this very precise moment in time, there is a hydraulic excavator chewing the crap out of the earth not more than three hundred metres away from my home, cause their expanding the industrial area but I can hear and smell the bloody thing from 0630 to 1730 every day, was I consulted or informed as to what might be happening ~ NO I was not told "jack diddely"

I've just realized that I have become one of those "Grumpy" old people the premier of this state remarked about a few days ago.

Safe travels : Joe Fury
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 17:21

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 17:21
I'm not apathetic about it Joe but there's bugger all you or I or the rest of the population can do about it.
It means big big money to all levels of Gov and that's all they're concerned about.
What really peeves me is the hundreds employed in so called Office of the Environment (or whatever) across the land in every state and no matter how much destruction is caused, it's all been assessed as safe to do.
It happens in the developing of yet more suburbs of Perth, Spring arrives and so do the dozers, scrapers, graders and dump trucks but it's all OK, it's only coastal scrub and it's all been environmentally assessed so carry on.
Signs north of Perth saying "Bushland for ever etc" crushed under the wheels of earthmovers and the councillors shovel yet more money from the developers into their bank accounts.
AlanH.
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 17:47

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 17:47
And what has any of the above got to do with the situation the Martu people are now in and how some big dollars wound up in the pockets of the people that were supposed to be acting in their interests???
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 17:58

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 17:58
I've met a couple of elders of the Martu and they were good people and my point I tried to make although not very well, is that all this is allowed even though there are supposed safe guards against damage to flora, fauna and to protect aboriginal heritage.
The ordinary Martu probably feel the same as I do about it and even worse as it's their ancestral lands being abused despite all the crap from Govs and the signing of various documents proclaiming it as theirs.
Plenty being made out of it by a few of their leaders (and lots of ours) and nothing changes for the ordinary aboriginal.
AlanH.
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 19:27

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 19:27
Fair enough too Alan. I have met and spoken to a few of their people in the past at a community. Bloody nice people. The thing that burns my buns is that you would expect the mining companies and maybe with the backing of various government departments, to act in their own interests. I would have hoped that the views of their majority acting through their elders would be acting in the best interests of them collectively. It appears that a few have ridden roughshod over that and looked to line their own pockets.
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Follow Up By: Joe Fury - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 21:03

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 21:03
G'day AlanTH ~ pop2jocem

Firstly the majority of Martu and Nyiyaparli people are NOT gaining any real benefit from what ever deal is done to get access to resources on, in or under traditional lands, they are selling out on a promise of a better future and they are rapidly loosing what ancestral ties they have to a part of Australia most of the general public know little or nothing about or care even less about.

Have a close look and read the public submissions put forward by the consultants and developers of what ever mining venture you choose to research and you will find many of their decisions are based on "desk top studies" so this suggest these buggers have not set foot on the very ground they are promoting to be mined?

As for the under handed financial dealings going on in these communities in partnership with whom ever ~ maybe they have learned the way of doing business as we know it !!

Safe travels : Joe Fury



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Follow Up By: Mick O - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 21:54

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 21:54
G'day there Joe. I wasn't aware that they were actually Fracking in the GSD and Canning Basins yet. I know of the much talked about reserves discovered but had no idea they had commenced production. Where abouts is it underway? I'd love to see the environmental impact assessments, if they are available for public consumption that is.

Considering that vast swathes of the GSD are paleodrainage areas, the results of such meddling could be catastrophic.

Mick

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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: Joe Fury - Sunday, Jul 13, 2014 at 09:58

Sunday, Jul 13, 2014 at 09:58
G'day Mick O

It's always good to read your words.

There is a mountain of information on Buru Energy and what they are already doing in the respect of extracting oil and gas from the Canning Basin.
Much of the released material is all glossy feel good stuff along with lawyer and accountant stuff ~ but next to stuff all about environmental impact or things the public should be made aware of.

I won't attempt to quote any of the information available on line because there is so much to wade through.

You will not enjoy the read, because you actually have traversed the region.

Google ~ Kimberley Gas and Oil
Canning Basin gas fracking.
Buru Energy

Safe travels : Joe Fury
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Sunday, Jul 13, 2014 at 20:56

Sunday, Jul 13, 2014 at 20:56
Hi Joe, thanks for your informative post.

We were just south of CSR Well24 last week and there were three seperate drill sites with sample bags, over a distance of 10 kays...

Re Weeli Wolli, we tried to acess it via the map from Newman VC but a truckie on the access road told us that a minesite was now blocking the track...bummer...

Our favourite camp site on the GN Hwy has now also been buried by clearing for the infrastructure you report above as well...

At least we got to see Hickman Crater before it gets obliterated....

Cheers.

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Follow Up By: Joe Fury - Sunday, Jul 13, 2014 at 23:50

Sunday, Jul 13, 2014 at 23:50
G'day John

I am sorry to read your words regarding the blocking of access to Weeli Wolli Springs as this particular place has such great significance to just about every indigenous peoples language group connected to this part of the inland Pilbara.

I actually had the honour of being present with a group of elders who were at Weeli Wolli Springs at a given time a few years ago, to say it was an emotional time, would be totally under stating how important this water course is to all of these folks, some of them were well into their late seventies ~ but they relived their childhood stories, of being with parents, grand parents and family members at that precise place 65 or more years before and now they had "come back" for a little while at least before they pass away too.

Lump in the throat stuff and a few tears as well, but now it's being relegated to memory and the Pilbara's history ~ bloody crying shame.

Hopefully the Hickman Crater has enough world wide scientific value and as such it might be spared from the blade of the bulldozer, but it would take a brave person to stand in front of that dozer and prevent a hole in the ground in the Pilbara from becoming a hole in the ground that's making some bugger richer than a mere mortal deserves to be ~ but when it's gone it's gone!

Safe travels : Joe Fury

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 at 18:53

Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 at 18:53
Thanks for that information Joe. I'll settle myself in for a read.

All the best to you and yours,


Mick
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 at 12:13

Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 at 12:13
as I always say - why mining gets the sole bad rap is beyond me
when i get time ill post the pics from caves spring road heading North from Kununnurra where tractors are working big time with earth leveling equipment massive areas of the kimberly completley flattened as far as the eye can see - everything gone all for chinese sugarcane

just in my one pic alone id say every mine in western australia could fit into the the totally destroyed area
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Reply By: Mick O - Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 21:50

Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 at 21:50
Interestingly Bob, the Martu are fearful of the lake (refer to your cannibal stories of the beings who live within the lake) and will go to great pains to avoid going near it.

When I was in Punmu last year, we were informed by the elders that a road between the two communities Parrngurr and Punmu had been approved and funded. The cost...$10.0m. I'd only hope that this was being contributed to through some of the royalties that now seem to be in dispute.

Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 at 09:38

Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 at 09:38
"...the Martu are fearful of the lake (refer to your cannibal stories of the beings who live within the lake) and will go to great pains to avoid going near it."

Hi

Based on my understanding it is only the ~eastern half of the Lake that is off limits (to locals and exploration) due to the "cannibal stories". Members of the Martu community are employed by the exploration company in question and have worked within a stones throw of the (western) Lake's edge (seen with my own eyes). Area around Savory Creek is also off limits to the exploration company at the Martu's request. Not sure of reason for this given access to public (i.e. CSR) is open.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 at 18:05

Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 at 18:05
That would be right then Greg. The T/O's that explained it to me were south east of the lake at the time and would not go anywhere near the south eastern and eastern regions. Stan Gratte also explained that this was a problem that he and others had when searching for the last of the nomads. Their local guides were quite fearful of that area.

Cheers Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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