Mining company applying for licence to explore mineral resources in sleepy Sussex Inlet


Residents in the small town of Sussex Inlet on the NSW South Coast are worried an application for a mining exploration licence has come “out of the blue” and that it could create an economic downturn for the region if approved.

A newly formed mining company based in Western Australia has lodged an application to explore for non-metallic minerals.

Geoscience Australian Pty Ltd was formed in December last year and lodged the application on January 11.

Resident and president of the local community forum Russell Neeve said there was once a sand mine in the area, but it was shut down in the mid-1990s.

He said the area had now started to recover and played a significant role in the natural coastal environment.

Sussex Inlet is a popular tourist destination, with visitors flocking in summer for its pristine waterways and beaches.(Flickr: Otto_G)

“There would be a lot of objection in the town to that kind of activity,” Mr Russell said.

“We have been putting together applications for a number of years now to address foreshore erosion and dune erosion,” he said.

Worries about impact on economy

President of the Sussex Inlet Chamber of Commerce Sandra Gray says a mine could also have an impact on tourism and economic growth in the town.

She said after a year of fires and floods, the town has only just started to recover, but this is creating more uncertainty.

“We’ve had a lot of recent investment in real estate and and a lot of people moving to our region,” Ms Gray said.

“We have a new housing development, which is really crucial for us going forward and all of this press [publicity] makes people anxious about whether they are doing the right thing moving to the region or investing in the wrong place,” she said.

She also said anything that impacted on the natural environment, could put tourists off coming to the town, which is known for its pristine waterways and beaches.

Licence not granted yet

The application was lodged in January, but there was no opportunity for community consultation.

In a statement, the NSW Department of Mining, Exploration and Geoscience said the application was advertised in February as required under the Mining Act.

It also said the application was being assessed, but the surrounding Conjola National Park and coastal waters would be excluded from any license if it is granted.

A spokesperson for government department Geoscience Australia said the organisation had nothing to do with the newly-formed company and did not conduct mining exploration activities.