Call on freeze for opal leases

(Sourced from on June 30, 2009)

Farmers are lobbying the NSW Government to hold off releasing any more opal prospecting blocks near Lightning Ridge in the state’s north-west.

The NSW Farmers Association wants a freeze on prospecting releases until landholders’ concerns have been addressed.

Chair of the association’s conservation and resource management committee, Louise Burge, says some opal miners are not properly rehabilitating mine shafts and waste dumps, causing environmental and occupational hazards.

“The problems with opal mining claims over private farm land have extended over a period of approximately 20 years,” he says.

“And the standards of mining and lack rehabilitation are what really you’d expect in third world countries, and this is what’s happening in Australia right now.”