A NUCLEAR radiologist has recommended mineral sands mining company Iluka Resources put up a bond to pay for independent experts to review controversial aspects of its Douglas' proposal.
Iluka wants to continue to dispose of by-products from its Hamilton mineral separation plant at its former Douglas mine site after its Victorian operations cease next year.
Kanagulk Landcare Group member Ian Ross discussed the group's concerns - which are primarily about radioactive material in pit 23 and possible contamination of groundwater - with Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Authority nuclear radiologist Peter Karamoskos on Tuesday night.
"He said the Kanagulk Landcare Group has been doing all the heavy lifting in this process," Mr Ross said.
"We are a volunteer group. It's not appropriate the volunteers - or council ratepayers - pay for independent expert opinion.
"He said there was a precedence across Australia that when there is a development process and proposal, the proponent puts up a bond - of say, $50,000 - in trust from which a council can access independent expert opinion on what they propose."
Kanagulk Landcare Group members invited the Mail-Times to visit some of the properties affected by Iluka Resources' mining in the region on Wednesday.
Many group members, including landownder Philip Costello, expressed the need for a thorough hydro-geological study.
Mr Costello is concerned springs and creeks on his property could be affected by pit 23.
He said the springs on his property never dried up, making them a valuable resource for his sheep during drought.
"If this was contaminated or ceased to flow it would really diminish the value of this property," he said.
"What comes out of here has to come from somewhere up behind me, which is where the mine is."
Mr Costello said the creek joined up with the Glenelg River.
Mr Ross, who owns property along the river, said the approval for pit 23 was on the basis no-one used groundwater.
"Here, the stock clearly uses the water," he said.
"It is a direct pathway back to human consumption."
Iluka rehabilitation operations manager Hamish Little told the Mail-Times last week independent experts confirmed the company's activities were not contaminating the groundwater.
Kanagulk Landcare Group has called on Resources Minister Lily D'Ambrosio to ask the mining warden to launch an inquiry into practices at Douglas.
"This is mining. This is big business. It will take everything worth having and there will be nothing left for the next generation"GRAEME ROBERTSON
Ron Elliott, whose property was among the first mined by Iluka in 2008, believes there must be an independent inquiry to settle the matter once and for all.
"I'm sick to death of the regurgitation of a problem that isn't being solved," he said.
"I want it to be cleared up so there's no more too-ing and fro-ing.
"As a farmer I have to comply by regulations. If I don't, then I'm hung out to dry. Why is there a difference here?"
Mr Elliott said he had no complaints about the way Iluka had rehabilitated his property.
"Iluka has done everything it said it was going to do," he said.
"It has put everything back the same way as what we agreed to. I think its done an exceptionally good job."
Mr Elliott said despite this, he could not abide by what the company was doing with pit 23.
"The issue here is mainly about health," he said.
"The people who work here are good blokes. They cop it for the management of the mine.
"What makes me annoyed, is the people making the decisions don't come here and see the implications of their decisions."
Affected landowner Graeme Robertson said Mr Elliott's experience was in stark contrast from his own.
He said while a confidentiality agreement prohibited him from discussing what he perceived as failures on Iluka's behalf on his property, he was appalled with the proposal for pit 23.
"Maybe we're fools, but we respect the land," he said.
"They don't respect the land. It's all about money.
"This is mining. This is big business. It will take everything worth having and there will be nothing left for the next generation.
"I relate the situation here to asbestos and fracking - nobody sees it, so nobody worries about it."