post Zinc Shunting in Copley

April 6th, 2008

Filed under: Earth,Health — newseditor @ 4:06 pm

Perilya representatives offered a shunting information session in Copley today on the first day of shunting zinc at the railway station to be collected by the NRG Flinders coal train. A group of peaceful protesters gathered with concerns about the following:

– The possibility to shunting of other toxic minerals in the future

– Spillage contingency plans

– Zinc toxicity

– Railway safety

– Lack of community consultation on shunting

– Reasons for not shunting at Parachilna

– A call for a Beltana railway loop

Perilya representatives and community members are invited to respond to these and raise other issues in this open discussion. See also the post on zinc.


  1. Who takes the brunt of the shunt? It’s an affront. It’s a punt, a stunt. Nothing but a blunt front. Those bad men.

    Copley Shunting? Call me old-fashioned, but it just doesn’t sound right.

    Comment by star man — April 6, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  2. The biggest concern here is lack of community consultation as listed which does not auger well for Copley or any community. Who was contacted, where are the minutes of such, what transpired or was transacted…this shunting is not authorised because perilya have not consulted… you can shove your trees and sausages up your proverbials

    Comment by nigel — April 7, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

  3. it didn’t sound rite either star man….and it was smelly and noisy. the back of the train sat opposite the church. told em that’s where it would end up. ;>~ was told they wont be shunting again but will be going round the loop after the coal train has gone past. was told that 3 months ago, but they said they just decided that. makes me wonder………………..
    protest was good, peaceful,fun. more protesters than unfriendlies……plus 3 dogs…..the kids knew why they were there and had decided for themselves where they stood. the cry of ‘moggsies cake…moggsies cake’ became the rallying cry for the protesters. signs told it like it is…onya people. protesters showed how to act as community people caring about everyone else in the community.
    who were the negative people? who were the nervous people? who were the unfriendly people? initially..designated…mostly.
    on the other hand…the company people were respectful to protesters point of view and even learned a thing or two about the company they work for.
    police were called by someone who knew protest was on. dont know what they thought protesting community members were going to do……policeman came to keep everyone safe, but arrived after the unfriendlies had gone. he was cool. he treated the sharing of zinc health information much better than some of the unfriendlies who went to learn how to cwoss the wailway twack and how company had minimised hazards. still no guarantee on future use. now the unfriendlies have said it is OK to shunt and store toxic zinc on the siding….in your town…now they can kiss their tourism goodbye, kiss their objections to more toxins from mining, goodbye, kiss their future goodbye…it is now just a matter of time. that negative??????

    Comment by S Hunting — April 7, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

  4. There is certainly a lot of debate in the community not only about the shunting but also the ethics of Perilya’s mining practice and interaction/intervention in community affairs, and mining in general. It might be useful to break it down and identify where/what are the problems:

    9. Community leadership and communication

    8. Use of the railway for shunting

    7. Perilya interacting with the community

    6. Perilya in particular

    5. Zinc Mining

    4. Mining in general

    3. Mining companies in general

    2. Corporations in general

    1. Government regulations and processes

    Comment by newseditor — April 8, 2008 @ 9:35 am

  5. That’s a good framework to explore within:

    9. Community leadership and communication
    A call for openness, transparency and full disclosure, inclusion. For structure and integrity of incorporated bodies existing in community – auditing/integrity testing of such via official channels responsible.

    8. Use of the railway for shunting
    Town Planning regulations pertaining to the current use of tracks and consultative processes if, and when, such changes occur. Question of mining as a heavy industry operation – conflicts of changed use vis a vis tourism/town amenity/health and safety risks.

    7. Perilya interacting with the community
    It was as clearly evidenced, in video recording, a unanimous ‘no’ with regard Perilya zinc presence in the centre of Copley. Questions arise with respect to the above and the change of values communicated after the PR exercise of said corporation. This is reminscent of the exercises carried out by BHP Steel Australia in relation to divisive community actions via BHP Public Relations Arm – Escondida Chile – many examples of this form of community division by PR arms of mining/mineral companies. Cite professional mining hydrologist DR Gavin Mudd, Monash University, concerned with the unethical practices of mining corporations (Beverley/Marathon with respect our district).

    6. Perilya in particular
    Has a poor track record with regard health and safety in Broken Hill mine operations and Smelter operations Port Pirie.

    5. Zinc Mining
    The risks of mining need to be assessed like all operations on a case by case basis. Particular risks are the presence of lead and arsenic in ore bodies which need to managed responsibly with regard short/medium and long term damage to the environment. Particular risk of dispersal of dust and runoff residue in Perilya operations along side Aroona catchment raising prospect of contamination of water reserves and threatening of endangered species inc yellow footed rock wallaby and tortoises in the reserve. Other risks exists which can be detailed but I would recommend independant appraisal by qualified and independant consultants such as Dr Gavin Mudd.

    4. Mining in general
    No problem with mining per se. My family has a rich history of mining in South Australia, Broken Hill and Silverton. Mining is an economic activity which can be managed without risk to environment and communities.

    3. Mining companies in general

    In relation to the natural heritage act and the activities of, for example Marathon Resources, its important to look at the wider perspective of the history and nature of the ‘person’ (the corporation) in relation to their history of operations, affiliated operations (particularly in developing countries so often where the true colours of such are revealed)… I can surely elaborate on such or begin a study.

    2. Corporations in general

    Corporations in general are structured as corporate body devoid of risk and operating in the interests of profit for shareholders. As per the analysis of the history and emergence of such in the film ‘The Corporation’, they display a pathological nature which can be quite damaging and divisive within the areas they operate, drawing into question the viability of corporations as a model of economic activity capable of delivering fair and equitable outcomes for the environments in which they operate.

    1. Government regulations and processes

    Government regulations last year have been by-passed within the democratic processes of government in Australia, as per the stark revelations of Dr Guy Pearce (speech writer to Robert Hill) who fast-trekked foolishly the approval process of the Beverly Uranium Mine. The full transcript of the 4 Corners program ‘The Green House Mafia’ outlines the exact manner in which global corporations infiltrated and wrote policy within the federal cabinet. The same is witnessed in SA with regard Marathon Resources breaching many laws within a Class A conservation zone in two separate occasions and not being penalised by the authorities (PIRSA or EPA). This is the current reality of risk that communities face with respect to relying upon the government to protect the environment or the communities they live in. I would like to think a small and intelligent community is able to operate cohesively to protect its long term viability until such time as government resumes responsibilities which seem to have gone off the rails.

    Comment by nigel — April 8, 2008 @ 11:32 am

  6. AMEN

    Comment by KiCkInG BiRd — April 8, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  7. It seems to me that our community has been sold down the river by a select few who had prior knowledge, did not communicate, assumed the right to make decisions on behalf of a percieved community of ‘children’, and quite possibly have no intention of allowing their children to grow up in a toxic environment. They will move away to some other place…where it will happen over and over again. Soon there may be no place left where anyone can breathe. It is this concern that brought more people to protest against the zinc train than came to the information session. It is any person’s right to disagree with decisions made for them without consultation. Of course, a solution was discussed with Perilya at town meetings…and that was to build a spur line or siding at Puttapa, instead of using Copley.
    What is our payback for requesting a pedestrian walkway across the siding??? fencing off the loading ramp so the community cannot use it….no consultation, no discussion, NO TRUST. I cannot understand how CDPA decided that they could trust Perilya.
    Still, it seems I don’t understand a lot of things around here.
    Well, community of Copley….you have chosen your course….live with it!!!!
    We have done our best to increase awareness of what the future will probably hold for this town, and we have protested against the increased health and safety risks to the community. So be it…………….

    Comment by di Sue Pointed — April 9, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

  8. zinc train arrived today at 5pm, shunted the engines to the front and left..approx. one hour. We were informed last time that the train would be travelling the loop line and not shunting. I assume the coal train wasn’t coming today. There were many less wagons this time, the end of the train well past the township.

    Comment by di — April 20, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  9. Perilya zinc train arrived again today…very quick fortnight that one…only lasted 7 days. It came and sat on the siding for approx. 7-8 hours…then shunted after the coal train left. I was able to walk right up to it at 4 security. The last wagon was level with Tommy’s and the church’s back fence. Was less than 50 metres from Northern Terrace. I have photos so will get them to newseditor. How many truths have been left behind now?
    “The train will not be near the town” “The train will be using the loop and will not be shunting” “We will provide security at all times”
    “The wagons will be washed down at the loading site” (have a look at the photos when we get them posted…is that rust or zinc?)
    How much trust has been lost with this company now? I am letting them know we are watching and I will be reporting on the activities.
    Something else I noticed while walking over the track….you could fire the power station with the ‘coal’ left on the track. How much coal dust is getting into our air, water tanks and lungs? ……………something to ponder!!!! and here we are allowing heavy metals to sit unattended on a siding within spitting distance of our residential area and business street. What are we thinking? Are we thinking, or has apathy allowed this to happen?

    Comment by di S Gusted — May 11, 2008 @ 11:47 pm

  10. check out the new photos of the zinc train on

    Comment by di — May 13, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  11. Di, I honestly believe that the coal train is a bigger threat than the zinc train. I cleaned the filter in my ceramic water purifier a week or so ago, & it was a dirty browny black. A combination no doubt of normal dust & coal dust. I have only ever put rainwater through it, & if you took a glass of water straight from the tap & held it up you would think it was perfectly okay. Not so! 🙁

    Comment by Rose — May 14, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

  12. I agree Rose, that the coal train is a bigger threat to everyone’s health, and we have about as much clout as an ant to get anything done to decrease the coal dust. Have you ever seen an ant carrying many times its weight and size to the nest? Have you seen them all work together to fight off an enemy? Have you seen them sacrifice themselves to save the whole colony? Even an ant knows when there is a threat and they fight to the death for their species to survive. Yes, we as humans poison them, burn out their nests, stomp on them, but they just keep going. They live in harmony with their environment or the environment destroys them. Now, I also realise that we are meant to have a greater store of knowledge and greater brain capacity than an ant…but still we allow the ‘big humans’ (governments and mining companies) to poison us, burn us out, pay us off with a little sugar. So we let them dig all around us, destroy our land, our environment, our nests. Who else but ourselves are going to bite those big feet on the toes and make them take notice???? While ever they think we are acquiescent, just little ants, they will continue. Didn’t anyone see that ant movie? Didn’t anyone see what they were trying to tell us?

    Comment by di A Tribe — May 15, 2008 @ 7:09 pm

  13. Well we currently have around 43 UNCOVERED coal wagons sitting directly across from us. They were shunted there around 2AM this morning. Last night as the train was going south it was kicking up one hell of a racket, something was obviously wrong somewhere. I don’t know how far down the line it got before they became aware of the problem.

    Comment by Rose — May 17, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

  14. It was very noisy when they shunted the engines up to those wagons too Rose….we all were startled out of our little skins.
    As for Perilya, only about 15 wagons on Sunday and they didn’t even bother to take them to the northern end of the siding…they were right in the middle of town….I don’t know if the pedestrian walkway was closed (anyone see?) They shunted the engines and were gone in about an hour. I wondered how long it would be before they just got lazy and left the train right in the middle of town. Didn’t take long eh!!! Anyone making a fuss? Does this matter to anyone?

    Comment by di — May 19, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

This site is now closed for comment


Life, Light & Laughter in Copley, Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia, Earth, Cosmos!

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

Back to main news window