Mark Podberscek stands by the railway line at Amamoor yesterday as residents learned of Eclipse Metals’ plan to start explorations in the Mary Valley to determine the viability of manganese mining. Mr Podberscek supports calls for a community forum involving Eclipse Metals.
Mark Podberscek stands by the railway line at Amamoor yesterday as residents learned of Eclipse Metals’ plan to start explorations in the Mary Valley to determine the viability of manganese mining. Mr Podberscek supports calls for a community forum involving Eclipse Metals. Tanya Easterby

Mining news has Mary Valley community anxious

NEWS that mining company Eclipse Metals will begin exploratory work in the new year to determine the viability of resuming manganese mining in the Mary Valley has sent a ripple of anxiety through the community.

Concerned residents learned of a possible mining future for the Mary Valley yesterday reading The Gympie Times.

Still hurting from the Traveston Dam struggle and the ongoing battle to rebuild the Mary Valley community following the dam's shelving, residents fear a repeat.

A gathering of residents discussing the possibility of mining in the Mary Valley was quick to point out they weren't automatically assuming an anti-mining position.

In fact, many of the residents were struggling with what to think as details of the exploration planned for the new year still took shape.

Valley resident Gaylene Smith prides herself on country hospitality and offered Eclipse Metals a cup of tea if they were willing to visit the Mary Valley and talk with residents directly.

"There has to be community-based consultation," she said.

"I would be more than happy for them (Eclipse Mining) to visit the Mary Valley and participate in a community forum so we can have some input and get answers."

Joining Ms Smith in pondering a mining future yesterday were Cathy Matheson, Heather Bull, Christine Buckley and Julie Armstrong.

All agreed the mining company could begin on the right foot by engaging with the community.

"How will they mine it?" asked Ms Matheson. "What does it mean to the environment?"

The residents also expressed concern mining would undermine the Mary Valley's ongoing push as a tourist destination.

"This has the potential to directly affect the countryside which is what we are trying to promote," Ms Matheson said.

This concern was echoed by Amamoor General Store and Post Office operator Heather Griffiths. "How can a pristine environment and mine co-exist?" she asked.

Husband Mark Podberscek shared the concern but acknowledged, if done right, the project could mean jobs, growth and infrastructure, including an upgrade of the railway line already mooted by Eclipse Metals.

Eclipse Metals says at least 100,000 tonnes of manganese is needed for mining operations to be viable.

Gympie Times


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