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State asked to chip in on road

Friday, 21st January, 2011

By Andrew Robertson

The State Government has been asked to contribute half of whatever it will cost to build a haulage road that will keep mining company Perilya's trucks off the city's streets.

While the design and cost of the bypass is yet to be finalised, City Council's general manager Frank Zaknich said yesterday the price tag could be in the order of $5 million.

The haulage road will allow Perilya to transport ore from its Potosi mine to the north of Broken Hill to its Southern Operations without passing through the city.

The company has promised to contribute up to $2m, part cash and part in-kind, towards the road's construction, and has already set aside 10,000 tonnes of crushed road base.

"We've submitted an expression of interest for funding to the State Government, so we'll be looking for 50 per cent of the cost," Mr Zaknich said.

"Perilya will make a contribution and Council will need to make a contribution in terms of acquisition of land ... that it will acquire.

"So it's probably up to a $5 million project but again that will depend on the actual cost of construction."

While Perilya has said it would be at least 18 months before production begins at Potosi, Mr Zaknich said Council wanted the road built within the next 12 months.

Council last month gave Perilya the green light to resume operations at Potosi and truck ore through parts of the city, despite objections from residents along the proposed route.

The decision was made after Council received legal advice that its earlier resolution, which would have forced Perilya to use the yet-to-be constructed haul road, was not legal.

Money isn't the only thing Council needs from the Government; it must free-up some Crown Land in order for the bypass to be built.

Council is still waiting to meet the NSW Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly, who cancelled a meeting this month after flooding in northeast NSW.

Mayor Wincen Cuy, who toured the proposed bypass route with local State MP John Williams yesterday, said another meeting had not yet been schedulled.

The mayor revealed Council would try to use as many existing tracks in the area as possible to "minimise" cultural and environment impacts.

Mr Williams said the bypass would be a win for both Perilya and residents living along the proposed street route.

"It's got my support and I'll certainly be taking it to the minister that will be appropriate to fund it and I don't think it should get any sort of rejection," he said.

"The fact is the Government needs to recognise they do have a commitment for jobs in western NSW and that's clearly one of the greatest outcomes from it.

"We've got potential to employ 100 people for the foreseeable future and obviously when they start developing out there there's always the opportunity of finding more resources and continuing that mine life.

"So as long as we can keep this going and get those people employed it's an absolute win."

The MP also recognised the "significant amount of money" committed by Perilya in what is a difficult environment for miners.

"We do know the resource now has reached the point where its become marginal and has become even more marginal with the exchange rate, and some of the type of contracts these mining companies have to create for the future.

"This facilitates what Perilya want to do and facilities what the local residents here in Eyre Street want to see."

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