AN economic windfall from the sale of treated effluent to Regis Resources for use in a proposed gold mine near Blayney makes the proposal a “no brainer”, says one Bathurst councillor.
As Bathurst Regional Council prepares to consider its next step in the process at tonight’s monthly meeting, Councillor Michael Coote has become the first to publicly back the sale.
Sick of what he calls an ongoing scare campaign by “the greenies”, Cr Coote said yesterday it was time to put emotion aside and think about the benefits the cash could bring to the region.
Regis Resources has put a proposal to council to buy between eight and 10 megalitres of treated effluent a day to run its McPhillamys Gold Project at Kings Plains.
That’s equivalent to the daily output from the Waste Water Treatment Plant back into the Macquarie River and the proposal has angered local environmentalists.
“Here we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity being offered to us from Regis. It’s like council winning Lotto,” Cr Coote said.
“Let’s take the emotion out of this because the greenies’ campaign to stop this is running amok. I stress that we are not taking out water from the river for the mine – we are selling our treated effluent.
“Yes, this has been put back into the river at a cost to our ratepayers. We as a council are not obligated to put effluent back in the river.
“What we are looking at doing is selling this effluent for a profit and that sure does make good business sense to me.”
A report to council by general manager David Sherley, to be tabled at tonight’s meeting, calls for any decision on the issue to be deferred, pending further information.
This includes Regis preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) into the development and determining actual cease to transfer (CTT) levels.
As well, council wants to hold talks with Regis as to the pricing levels for the sale of the effluent.
Cr Coote said if council decides to support Regis, it wouldn’t have to pay for the pipe or the piping of the effluent.
“All infrastructure at the waste works that is required for the transfer will be paid for by Regis,” he said.
“Then there’s the 200 jobs created on start-up and the 150 continuing positions for the future plus around 400 external jobs. You don’t have to be a genius to work out the benefits that come with these type of employment numbers.
“Many business owners and workers I have spoken with are for this proposal once they are told the facts. I believe the facts have been shadowed by an emotive story.
“The money that we could make could fund the raising of our dam wall, or construct a pipeline from the dam to our water filtration plant and improved capital works around the region. It’s an endless list.
“As councillors we have to make decisions based on facts and not emotion. This is a highly emotive concern for the region, but we must look at the facts and that’s what we will be asking for when we meet on Wednesday night.
“I am not sitting on the fence anymore.”