Exploration and mining activities in rural areas of Australia are often regarded with some concern by affected communities and stakeholders. To this end, working in the mining industry requires extensive engagement with a wide range of community members and organisations. A legacy of poor community engagement by previous exploration or mining companies makes the management of successful future operations a difficult task. White Rock has employed an experienced community engagement professional as part of its management team to work with the community and ensure White Rock meets and exceeds its obligation at Mt Carrington and other projects. White Rock has commenced proactively engaging with the community to contribute to the regional economy, support local employment where possible, and build community collaboration.
A Company Community Engagement Policy is in place.
Community Sponsorship Program
White Rock supports a number of community initiatives in the Drake district through its Community Sponsorship Program. Community groups are invited to apply for small grants or in kind support for projects which are demonstrated to have wide community benefit, are long term and build community capacity. In 2011 support was given to the Drake Public School for their Stephanie Alexander Garden Project, the Drake Village Resource Centre, and the Westpac Helicopter Rescue Service which operates out of Lismore.
Applications for the 2014 Community Sponsorship program are still being received. Click here for the 2014 Community Sponsorship form.
White Rock also publishes updates on the Mt Carrington exploration program in the monthly Drake Village Voice.
Mt Carrington Environmental Management Program
White Rock have established an ongoing environmental management program on the old mine site at Mt Carrington. This program was approved by the NSW Department of Resource and Energy under the current Mine Operating Plan and includes:
- Operation of a reverse osmosis desalination plant (‘RO Plant’) which treats approximately 0.9 million litres of water per day from the old tailings dam. The high quality clean water (60% of total treated) is discharged into Sawpit Creek, and the reject saline water (40%) goes back into the dam for re-treatment. The water treatment plant operates on the basis of an 11 hour per day shift, 5 days per week. The water quality being generated and released is excellent, with all salts and metals removed. The water quality is well below those levels specified in the Australian standards for drinking water.
- Upgraded pumping of dams used to collect the acid mine drainage. A series of dams to collect the acid mine drainage (‘AMD’) from the large waste rock dump were constructed in the Humphries Creek catchment during the period of previous mine operations, 1987 – 1990. Since taking over the operation of the site White Rock have ensured that these dams remain near empty to allow for major rainfall events and to prevent overflow. To ensure a greater degree of pumping capability the previous diesel powered pump has been replaced with a new submersible pump operated off grid power. This will allow pumping on a 24 hour / 7 days per week basis should it be needed and has effectively tripled the existing pumping capacity. The dams have not overflowed since White Rock has been managing this site.
- Monthly compliance water sampling of all creeks draining the mine site has been undertaken since White Rock assumed management of the Mt Carrington mining leases. This sampling provides the background data necessary to demonstrate the improvement in water quality which is expected following the installation and operation of the water treatment plant and the rehabilitation of the ROM waste dump. The sampling program has recently been expanded to provide background data on the creek draining the White Rock silver deposit, the creek draining the township of Drake and the upper part of the Plumbago Creek catchment.
- Rehabilitation of the “run of mine” (ROM) waste dump in the Sawpit Creek catchment has been undertaken. This dump was generating substantial quantities of AMD which was impacting on water quality in Humphries Creek. This dump has now been re-profiled to batter angles of 17o and the surface has been re-modelled to facilitate better drainage of rain water. All worked areas have been coated in clay and then track rolled, and soil retained from the original clearing of the area has been re-spread. The surface of the ROM pad has naturally reseeded with native grasses.
White Rock has an Environmental Management Policy in place.
Mining Operation Plan
Following the purchase of the Mt Carrington project in 2009 Rex engaged consultants Hatlar Pty Ltd to prepare a new Mining Operation Plan (“MOP”) which addresses the management of environmental rehabilitation of previous mining and processing activities within the MLs. The MOP was submitted to the Department of Industry and Investment Minerals Environmental Division in February 2009, and was approved by them in May 2010.
In April 2012 the Department of Industry and Investment Minerals Environmental Division APPROVED an extension to the current MOP to December 2014.