Land owners in the Hunter’s Karuah River Valley have raised concerns over Gold of Ophir’s application for exploration.
Residents say the upper reaches of the river’s catchment may be destroyed if gold mining is carried out, according to The Herald.
Gold of Ophir applied on 1 July for 14 exploration licences throughout the Hunter.
While government records show gold mining has been carried out for decades, it is not an overly profitable region.
However, the push to re-explore the Monkerai fields comes on the back of new developments in gold mining which have allowed for the re-opening of previously closed Victorian mines.
Locals from the Karuah River Protection Group (KRPG) say current gold mining techniques may poison the catchment, which flows into Port Stephens.
“Modern mining is on a vastly greater scale than historic mining and the world is littered with rivers and landscapes devastated by mining,’’ local resident Di Johnston said.
‘‘Communities that depend on healthy environments for their livelihoods are often left in tatters after mining operations cease.’’
To date, the miner is only looking to carry out geo-magnetic surveying and early exploration.
This is the baby crawling type stage," he told the ABC.
"Hopefully it goes beyond that but it may turn out the ground’s not of interest. Exploration’s high risk and often unrewarding."
It has exploration applications in the Hunter around Singleton, as well as near Tamworth.
KRPG will meet on 6 August to discuss concerns.
“Food and water are more precious than gold. We will not stand by and let our rivers and community be destroyed,’’ Johnston said.