There is a mystical mountain in the remote North Flinders Ranges in South Australia known as Mount
Gee http://www.arkaroola.com.au/mt_gee.php It is an arid wilderness mountain within Arkaroola
/Mount Painter Wilderness Sanctuary and is located in the heart of the spectacular igneous and
metamorphic formations characteristic of the Northern Flinders.
Mount Gee is part of the geological area known as Mount Painter province, one of the most highly
mineralized areas for its size on earth. Although the mineral diversity of the area is huge, the
mineralisation is minimal and commercial mining has rarely occurred there except for a few small
copper mines that failed early last century and the Mount Painter mine where limited amounts of
uranium were extracted for the Manhattan Project during the Second World War.
The surface of Mount Gee comprises acid soils with outcrops of quartz crystal and granite. There
are underground water chasms with crystal amethyst lined walls; deep underground formations that are
known to breathe when atmospheric pressure systems pass. High on the mountain there are cliffs of
rugged highly mineralised granite porphyry where prehistoric bat caves exist. The terrain is
spectacular, rugged and remote, covered with woodlands of native pine, mallee and acacia
interspersed with dense areas of triodia amongst which scattered clumps of xanthoria, cassia and
eromophila shrublands thrive. This is one of the most delicate, beautiful and spectacular arid range
areas that exist.
Importantly, this area is the centre of abundance; the heart of distribution
Grasswren Amytornis merrotsyi, a rare and restricted South Australian endemic bird and close to the
site where it was discovered. Significantly the Mount Gee/ Mount Painter area is also the main
Flinders Ranges breeding area for Little Woodswallow and Painted Finch and also where uncommon
species such as Broad-tailed Thornbill and Redthroat are common. It is also a major habitat for
Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby.
There is now a proposal to mine uranium on a vast scale at Mount Gee by a company known as Marathon
Resources P/L. Unfortunately there is no possibility that mining development could proceed in this
area without causing massive destruction. The area and its wildlife is vulnerable to almost every
impact of mining, (see 1 below) not to mention major damage that would occur to the visual amenity.
Destructive mineral exploration occurred here in the late 1960's and early 70's
http://www.sea-us.org.au/oldmines/mtgee.html Exploration activity was halted by the SA Government
because of environmental concerns. These damaged areas have never recovered from the onslaught of
100 drill holes in 1972.
Arkaroola was purchased as an under-developed pastoral property for the sole purpose of natural
protection and conservation by Dr Reg Sprigg and his wife Griselda in 1968. Since then, with more
than 40 years of competent management by the Sprigg family the area has remained well protected. The
area and its wildlife is seriously threatened by this development proposal. If you are interested in
helping with this issue, please read http://www.arkaroola.com.au/mining.php and consider your response.
And how would I know any of this? Arkaroola was once my home too and where Pat and I raised our
children. The natural values of this area and its importance to the nation far exceed any short
term economic benefit from exploiting its mineral wealth.
St Helens Tasmania
1. Impacts from mining relate to threatening processes that vary according to species and location
affected. As I see it, threatening processes from mining that will affect species occurring at Mt
Gee include; regular human presence near vital habitat such and available water, disturbance,
modification and pollution of natural water points, vibration, noise, road kill, major erosion,
impeding water flows, downstream fines pollution of waterholes and watercourses, competition for
naturally occurring level and open areas, blasting, chemical pollution, vegetation removal, major
dust source, rubbish.
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