Drung South, St Helens Plains residents could lose land due to mine

DRUNG South and St Helens Plains residents could lose their land if a planned mineral sands mine goes ahead.

Mining company Australian Zircon has proposed the WIM150 Mineral Sands Project at Drung, a 12,850-hectare mine that will target heavy minerals including zircon.

St Helens Plains farmer Keith Fischer said Australian Zircon approached landholders in the area with plans about setting up a mine within the next five years.

He said those affected would meet to learn about their rights.

“We have organised a solicitor from Melbourne to come and talk – he has been involved with a lot of compulsory acquisition agreements and he will inform landholders about what rights they have,” he said.

“There are talks of other areas that are going to be affected by sand mining in the future, so anyone is welcome to come along.”

Mr Fischer said his parents lived on the edge of  Taylors Lake and would lose their house if the mine went ahead.

“They live on my grandfather’s soldier settlement block which he received in about 1920 – he was seriously injured in the First World War,” he said. 

“So that land is our family history and my father will be 80 this year.”

Mr Fischer said he was also concerned about the effect the mine would have on the lake.

“We are waiting for their environmental effects study to know more about that,” he said.

He said if the mine went ahead he would fight it, and the meeting was to see what other landholders were intending to do.

“Other landholders are concerned about the unknown – so we need to know what we can do about it.

“We don’t know what will happen but we need to be informed in case something does.”

Australian Zircon has proposed that the mine operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and recover ilmenite, zircon, monazite, rutile and leucoxene.

Mr Fischer said the meeting would be at 1pm on April 16 in the Horsham RSL conference room.

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