Timbarra Gold Mine

Last updated
Australia location map.svg
Schlaegel und Eisen nach DIN 21800.svg
Timbarra Gold Mine
Location in Australia
Location Tenterfield
State New South Wales
Country Australia
Coordinates 29°07′S152°18′E / 29.117°S 152.300°E / -29.117; 152.300 Coordinates: 29°07′S152°18′E / 29.117°S 152.300°E / -29.117; 152.300

The Timbarra Gold Mine was a highly controversial gold mine located on the Timbarra Plateau, at the head waters of the Clarence River, near Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia. The gold ore body consisted of a greisen type granite. The protracted controversy attracted national and international attention, and catalysed an anti-cyanide extraction campaign in Australia. [1] [2]


Mine history

The mine was initially developed in the late 1990s by a medium-sized mining company, Ross Mining. After six months the mine went into "care and maintenance", and never re-opened. Delta Gold acquired the mine through a take-over of Ross Mining. Eventually the mine was acquired by Placer Dome who were in turn taken over in 2006 by Barrick Gold.

Placer Dome undertook an intensive rehabilitation programme at the mine site, setting new standards for mining rehabilitation in New South Wales.

Precious Metal Resources ( ASX: PMR ) has applied for an exploration licence over the mine and is planning to develop the project and start job creation in the area. The senior management at PMR have continued their extensive research in the project and believe over the coming years they will be able to reopen the mine and start production.

The Timbarra Gold Mine has in excess of 300MT of Resource.


Timbarra Gold Mine was subject to intensive protest for several reasons: [3]

Ross Mining countered the criticism with arguments in favour of the mine:

Anti-mine action took on different forms:

The controversy surrounding the mine was the subject of a 2002 documentary, Demon Fault, which was commissioned by Australia's Special Broadcasting Service and featured miners, protesters, environmental and legal specialists, local farmers and landowners in a protracted battle over the mining operation.

The mine is now owned by an Australian ASX company called Precious Metal Resources ( ASX:PMR)


The project was the subject of litigation in the NSW courts. Ross Mining NL had been granted a development consent by the Tenterfield Shire Council pursuant to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, which required a Species Impact Statement to be submitted with an application for development consent if the development is "likely to significantly affect threatened species". [5] The respondent did not submit a Species Impact Statement, and the Timbarra Protection Coalition sought to rely upon this to invalidate the development consent. Talbot J who heard the Class 4 proceedings in the Land and Environment Court held that the decision of the Council to accept the application without a Species Impact Statement was not reviewable as it was not an error of jurisdictional fact and, accordingly, refused to admit evidence on the issue of "likely to significantly affect threatened species". [4] The decision of Talbot J of the Land and Environment Court was appealed to the Court of Appeal. [6] The central issue for determination was whether the decision of council to accept a development application without a Species Impact Statement was reviewable. The Court of Appeal had to rule on the question of whether a development 'likely to significantly affect threatened species' involves a jurisdictional fact and whether evidence of the existence or non-existence of that fact was admissible in appeal from council's decision. Spigelman CJ held that the issue of "likely to significantly affect threatened species" involves a jurisdictional fact. It was held that the decision of council regarding need for a Species Impact Statement was reviewable and related evidence was admissible. [6]


The mine was closed in 2001 after heavy rainfall resulted in two successive overflows from the cyanide ponds vindicated concerns about the site. Fortunately, cyanide extraction had ceased and actual cyanide levels were low.

Then owners, Delta Gold, undertook a Mine Closure Plan which included former protestors as stakeholders. This resulted in a pioneering consensus approach to the rehabilitation that continued throughout the Mine's ownership by Placer Dome.

The impact from the improved road access to the mine site is an ongoing concern to environmentalists as it has opened up the Timbarra Plateau to potential development, especially agriculture.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Land rehabilitation</span> Part of environmental remediation

Land rehabilitation as a part of environmental remediation is the process of returning the land in a given area to some degree of its former state, after some process has resulted in its damage. Many projects and developments will result in the land becoming degraded, for example mining, farming and forestry.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rum Jungle, Northern Territory</span> Town in the Northern Territory, Australia

Rum Jungle is a locality in the Northern Territory of Australia located about 105 kilometres south of Darwin on the East Branch of the Finniss River. It is the site of a uranium deposit, found in 1949, which has been mined.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Super Pit gold mine</span> Gold mine in Western Australia

The Fimiston Open Pit, colloquially known as the Super Pit, was Australia's largest open cut gold mine until 2016 when it was surpassed by the Newmont Boddington gold mine also in Western Australia. The Super Pit is located off the Goldfields Highway on the south-east edge of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The pit is oblong in plan view and is approximately 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and over 600 metres deep.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roșia Montană</span> Commune in Alba, Romania

Roșia Montană is a commune of Alba County in the Apuseni Mountains of western Transylvania, Romania. It is located in the Valea Roșiei, through which the small river Roșia Montană flows. The commune is composed of sixteen villages: Bălmoșești, Blidești, Bunta, Cărpiniș (Abrudkerpenyes), Coasta Henții, Corna (Szarvaspatak), Curături, Dăroaia, Gârda-Bărbulești, Gura Roșiei (Verespataktorka), Iacobești, Ignățești, Roșia Montană, Șoal, Țarina, and Vârtop (Vartop).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">McArthur River zinc mine</span> Mine in Northern Territory, Australia

The McArthur River mine is a zinc-lead mine, situated about 70 kilometres southwest of Borroloola, near the Gulf of Carpentaria in the northeastern Northern Territory, Australia. It is operated by McArthur River Mining (MRM), a subsidiary of the Swiss mining company Glencore. Although discovered in the 1950s, when it was originally called the HYC or "Here's Your Chance" deposit, it only opened as a mine in 1995. Initially an underground mining operation, the mine has been converted to open-cut.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coal in Australia</span> Coal is or has been mined in every state of Australia

Coal is mined in every state of Australia. The largest black coal resources occur in Queensland and New South Wales. About 70% of coal mined in Australia is exported, mostly to eastern Asia, and of the balance most is used in electricity generation. In 2019-20 Australia exported 390 Mt of coal and was the world's largest exporter of metallurgical coal and second largest exporter of thermal coal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mining in Papua New Guinea</span>

Mining in Papua New Guinea is an important part of the Papua New Guinea economy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Drake, New South Wales</span> Town in New South Wales, Australia

Drake is a parish and small rural community on the Bruxner Highway approximately 44 km east of Tenterfield, New South Wales and about 800 km north of Sydney, New South Wales. It is in the Tenterfield Shire local government area, which is part of the New England region. At the 2016 census, Drake had a population of 345 people.

The Marcopper mining disaster is one of the worst mining and environmental disasters in Philippine history. It occurred on March 24, 1996, on the Philippine island of Marinduque, a province of the Philippines located in the Mimaropa region. The disaster led to drastic reforms in the country's mining policy.

The Environmental Defender's Office (NSW) in Sydney, New South Wales, was one of nine EDO offices located across Australia, formerly known as the Australian Network of EDOs (ANEDO).

Mining in the United States has been active since the beginning of colonial times, but became a major industry in the 19th century with a number of new mineral discoveries causing a series of mining rushes. In 2015, the value of coal, metals, and industrial minerals mined in the United States was US $109.6 billion. 158,000 workers were directly employed by the mining industry.

The Marlin Mine is a gold mine in Guatemala owned by Montana Exploradora de Guatemala, S.A (Montana), which is a subsidiary of Canadian company Goldcorp.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pascua Lama</span>

Pascua-Lama is an open pit mining project of gold, silver, copper and other minerals. Pascua Lama is located in the Andes mountains, in the southern reaches of Atacama Desert, straddling the border between Chile and Argentina at an altitude of over 4,500 metres. Toronto-based Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold mining company, is developing the project. Due to its proximity to glaciers, Pascua-Lama has caused controversy and public protest in Chile, including demonstrations and petitions presented to the Chilean government. Chile has not approved the project.

The Yeelirrie uranium project is a uranium deposit located approximately 70 km southwest of Wiluna, in the Mid West region of Western Australia. The name Yeelirrie is taken from the local sheep station.

The International Cyanide Management Code for the Manufacture, Transport and Use of Cyanide in the Production of Gold, commonly referred to as the Cyanide Code, is a voluntary program designed to assist the global gold and silver mining industries and the producers and transporters of cyanide used in gold and silver mining in improving cyanide management practices and to publicly demonstrate their compliance with the Cyanide Code through an independent and transparent process. The Cyanide Code is intended to reduce the potential exposure of workers and communities to harmful concentrations of cyanide‚ limit releases of cyanide to the environment‚ and enhance response actions in the event of an exposure or release.

The Thacker Pass Lithium Mine is a lithium clay mining development project in Humboldt County, Nevada which is the largest known lithium deposit in the US, and one of the largest in the world. There has been significant exploration of Thacker Pass since 2007. The Bureau of Land Management issued a Record of Decision approving development of the mine in January, 2021. Construction began in March 2023 after an emergency appeal was denied by the court. The project site would cover 18,000 acres (7,300 ha), with less than 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) of that being mined, on a site 21 miles (34 km) west-northwest of Orovada, Nevada within the McDermitt Caldera. The mine is a project of Lithium Nevada, LLC - a wholly owned subsidiary of Lithium Americas Corp, whose largest shareholder is the world's largest lithium mining company, Chinese Ganfeng Lithium. At full capacity it would produce 66,000 tons annually, equivalent to 25% of the current (2021) demand for lithium globally, which is expected to triple over the next five years. Development of the mine is driven by increasing demand for lithium used in electric vehicle batteries and grid storage of intermittently generated electricity from sources such as solar power or wind power. In late January 2023, car giant General Motors announced it would invest $650M in the mine project, giving GM exclusive access to the first phase of production.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Olympic Dam mine</span> Poly-metallic underground mine in South Australia

The Olympic Dam mine is a large poly-metallic underground mine located in South Australia, 550 km (340 mi) NNW of Adelaide. It is the fourth largest copper deposit and the largest known single deposit of uranium in the world. Copper is the largest contributor to total revenue, accounting for approximately 70% of the mine's revenue, with the remaining 25% from uranium, and around 5% from silver and gold. BHP has owned and operated the mine since 2005. The mine was previously owned by Western Mining Corporation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Carmichael coal mine</span> Proposed coal mine in Queensland, Australia

The Carmichael coal mine is a coal mine in Queensland, Australia which produced its first shipment of coal in December 2021.

<i>Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995</i> Act of parliament in New South Wales

The Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) was enacted by the Parliament of New South Wales in 1995 to protect threatened species, populations and ecological communities in NSW. In 2016 it was replaced by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. These acts form the basis and the mechanisms in NSW by which species, populations and ecological communities are declared endangered, vulnerable or critically endangered, and under which people and corporations are prosecuted for destruction of habitat sheltering such species, populations or communities.

Lydian International Limited is a multinational corporation with gold mining interests in Armenia and Georgia. Founded in 2005 the company is registered in the British Crown dependency of Jersey but headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado, United States. While it was formerly listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, it was delisted in February 2020 as it sought creditor protection. Lydian International's major shareholders and lenders are the Resource Capital Funds, Orion Resource Partners, Franklin Advisers of the Franklin Templeton Investments, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the state-owned Swedish Export Credit Corporation and others. Its ongoing active development is the Amulsar Gold Project located in south-central Armenia and 100% owned by Lydian International.


  1. "Mining Amendment (Cyanide Leaching) Bill 2004". NSW Parliament. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  2. "Ban Cyanide!". Rainforest Information Centre. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  3. "Timbarra Mine Rehabilitation Memo (2002) and Press Release (2001)". Big Scrub Environment Center. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007.
  4. 1 2 Timbarra Protection Coalition Inc v Ross Mining NL [1998] NSWLEC 19 (23 February 1998), Land and Environment Court (NSW,Australia).
  5. Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) s 77(3)(d1) .
  6. 1 2 Timbarra Protection Coalition Inc v Ross Mining NL [1999] NSWCA 8 , (1999) 46 NSWLR 55, Court of Appeal (NSW,Australia).