It disturbs me to read a letter in your paper (May 31) by Denis Acocks titled Mine mentality must be halted. While it is politically incorrect to state, the damage done by farming and logging has made a far greater impact on the environment than mining. Look out an aircraft window over any of Australia’s fertile lands and how many mines do you see? But how much of this is cleared?  The bigger percentage of Australia is cleared of its forests. I am not anti-farming, logging or mining but all must be managed responsibly and misinformed comments must be dealt with. Certainly, mining should be criticised for some of its past performances but so should many other industries.



As I presently work in the finance sector specializing in resources projects globally, I have seen mining, farming and forestry in all parts of the western world and developing countries. Continuing land clearing on top of what is already cleared in many of these countries is devastating. In comparison the footprint of a modern mining operation, even an open cut, is miniscule in comparison. The revenue generated from one of these operations is many times that generated by agriculture or logging. I acknowledge, and have done so for years, that large low-grade metal deposits in high rainfall, high relief areas will diminish as can be seen with the closure of operations in Papua New Guinea.




Ask the average Aussie (or politician) in the street; What are Australia’s main export earners? The answer? No. not wheat, wool and beef but iron ore, coal and gold. These huge wealth generators for Australia make barely a scratch on the huge tracks of cleared Australia.




Tony Lethlean


June 2001