Showing posts with label risk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label risk. Show all posts

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The thirty-eight minutes in which Hawaii thought Trump had finally pushed North Korea too far

The New Yorker, 13 January 2018:

Residents of Hawaii received this warning on their smartphone screens 
Saturday morning from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
Photograph Caleb Jones / AP

A little after 8 a.m. today, Hawaii standard time, an alert was sent to cell phones in Hawaii: “ballistic missile threat inbound to hawaii. seek immediate shelter. this is not a drill.” The message was also broadcast on local television and radio.

Nearly forty minutes passed before a second message went out: “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.” Later, the governor of Hawaii, David Ige, told CNN, “It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the changeover of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button.”……

Our apartment looks out over the international airport and Pearl Harbor. Whenever there’s fighter-jet activity, it goes right by our lanai. There’s been a lot of exercises recently. The local news has been reporting why so many fighter jets are running around, and the stories described the name of the exercises: Sunset Aloha. Apparently, they’re military drills. What it meant, for us, is F-22s and F-35s have been screaming through the skies over the past two weeks.

“We were sitting out on the lanai when the announcement came over the building speaker that there was an inbound ballistic missile to Hawaii. And that it wasn’t a drill. They repeated that. I got a text from a friend who’s an airline pilot who runs a Honolulu route and happened to be in town saying, ‘Did you guys see this?’ My wife called a friend of hers on the Big Island to see whether it was something that was just Honolulu, just Oahu, or the entire state. She was able to get through, and her friend said ‘Yes, it’s for the entire state.’

“At that point, we secured all the windows and all the doors. We started filling the tubs and every container we could with water. And texting family and friends. There’s been an increasing amount of information in Hawaii about what to do in case of a ballistic missile, over the last few months, clearly tied to tensions with North Korea. Everybody in Hawaii is very aware that after Guam we’re the next-closest target. We’re the only part of the U.S. that’s been a target of a military attack by a foreign power in the past century. And, of course, coming from New York, being the target of a non-military attack, that resonated with us in the worst possible way. Hawaii has also started doing monthly air-raid drills.

“It took me maybe a minute to process that this was actually happening. It was an ‘Oh my god, but I need to execute, I need to get things done’ kind of feeling. ‘Is this real? Can this really happen? They’re gonna shoot it down, right? What happens if our building collapses and we can’t get to our little girl?’

“After about five minutes, we were visibly upset. My wife was crying, and George, our daughter, wanted to know why. We asked her to come over for a family hug. We explained that we’d heard very bad news that something very, very bad was happening and it had us really, really upset. I don’t think she really understands nuclear Armageddon or ballistic missiles, but she certainly understands that Mommy and Daddy are really upset.

“We continued to fill every container we could find with water for maybe another fifteen or twenty minutes. We tried calling people. My wife tried her father in Chicago three times, got a busy signal. I texted my mother and my twenty-one-year-old daughter. We texted the rest of my wife’s family to say there’s a ballistic missile coming towards Hawaii and it’s not a drill.

“I’m not a religious person. There are no prayers to God in our household.

“At eight twenty-nine, we got a text back from my wife’s sister-in-law saying it was a hoax. Half an hour had passed, roughly. Then I checked and started seeing reports on Twitter from Tulsi Gabbard and other reps, from the governor, saying this was a false alarm. Then we got an alert over the building loudspeaker also saying it was a false alarm. Then we got the cell-phone alert. At that point, I was able to get through to my mother on the phone. She reported that what she saw on the news in the mainland was nothing until finally they said, ‘Oh, there’s a false alarm of a missile coming into Hawaii.’ Meanwhile, everyone over here is really upset and thinks they’re all going to die. Our friend the pilot was in a hotel saying the lobby was full of crying children.

“We began to relax a little and start to deal with the aftereffects of a severe adrenaline rush. I’m still shaking, though. My wife is still having waves of goose bumps and chills periodically….. 

From Twitter Moments, 14 January 2018:

Thursday, 11 January 2018

NSW Auditor-General not impressed by government agencies cyber security risk management

“Specific financial reporting, controls and service delivery comments are included in the individual 2017 cluster financial audit reports tabled in Parliament from October to December 2017.” [NSW Auditor-General, Report on Internal Controls and Governance 2017, December 2017]

On 20 December 2017 the NSW Auditor-General released the Report on Internal Controls and Governance 2017.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 28 December 2017:

Two-thirds of NSW government agencies are failing to properly safeguard their data, increasing the risk of improper access to confidential information about members of the public and identity fraud by cyber criminals.

The finding has emerged from an audit of dozens of government agencies, including those holding highly sensitive personal information collected from millions of citizens, such as NSW Health, the department of education, NSW Police Force, Roads and Maritime Services and the justice department.

While the report by auditor-general Margaret Crawford does not name the agencies failing to properly manage privileged access to their systems, it highlights the potential consequences.

"Personal information collected by public sector agencies about members of the public is of high value to cyber criminals, as it can be used to create false identities to commit other crimes," she says in the report.

"Despite these risks, we found that one agency had 37 privileged user accounts, including 33 that were dormant. The agency had no formal process to create, modify or deactivate privileged users."

Overall, Ms Crawford's report found 68 per cent of NSW government agencies "do not adequately manage privileged access to their systems".

In addition, she said, the audit determined that 61 per cent of agencies "do not regularly monitor the account activity of privileged users".

"This places those agencies at greater risk of not detecting compromised systems, data breaches and misuse," the report said.

The audit found 31 per cent of agencies "do not limit or restrict privileged access to appropriate personnel". Of those, just one-third monitor the account activity of privileged users.

It found that almost one-third of agencies breach their own security policies on user access.

The report warns that if agencies fail to implement proper controls "they may also breach NSW laws and policies and the international standards that they reference".

Read the full article here.

List of NSW Government Agencies Examined by NSW Auditor-General
Department of Education
Family and Community Services
Department of Family and Community Services
New South Wales Land and Housing Corporation
Finance, Services and Innovation
Department of Finance, Services and Innovation * Specifically identified in report
Place Management NSW
Property NSW
Service NSW
NSW Health
Department of Industry
Destination NSW
Forestry Corporation of New South Wales
Office of Sport
TAFE Commission
Water NSW
Department of Justice
Fire and Rescue NSW
Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales
NSW Police Force
Office of the NSW Rural Fire Service
Planning and Environment
Department of Planning and Environment
Essential Energy
Hunter Water Corporation
Office of Environment and Heritage
Office of Local Government
Sydney Water Corporation
Premier and Cabinet
Department of Premier and Cabinet
NSW Trains
Rail Corporation New South Wales
Roads and Maritime Services
Sydney Trains
Transport for NSW
WCX M4 PTY Limited
WCX M5 PTY Limited
Crown Finance Entity
Insurance and Care NSW
Lifetime Care and Support Authority
NSW Treasury Corporation
NSW Self Insurance Corporation

Some deficiencies were common across agencies

The most common internal control deficiencies were poor or absent IT controls related to:

user access management
password management
privileged access management
user acceptance testing.

The most common governance deficiencies related to:

management of cyber security risks
capital project governance
management of shared service arrangements
conflicts-of-interest management
gifts-and-benefits management
risk management maturity
ethical behaviour policies and statements.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government moving against Clarence River communities?

According to the state-owned corporation Port Authority of New South Wales, during the 2017-18 cruise season which commenced in October, international cruise ships will be visiting Sydney, Newcastle, Port Kembla and Eden.

On its website the Authority proudly announced an expectation of a bumper season – as other parts of the world buckle under the weight of the cruise ship industry’s agenda and start to say ‘no more’.

When cautionary tales like this are appearing….., 20 November 2017:

Venice is planning to divert massive cruise liners. Barcelona has cracked down on apartment rentals.

Both are at the forefront of efforts to get a grip on "overtourism", a phenomenon that is disrupting communities, imperiling cherished buildings and harming the experience of travellers and local residents alike……

The backlash has even given rise to slogans such as "Tourists go home" and "Tourists are terrorists".

"This is a wake-up call," Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation, told tourism ministers and industry executives last week at the World Travel Market in London.

Meanwhile Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (USA) and Carnival Corporation (USA) – the biggest cruise lines operating in Australian waters – are moving some of their passenger ships off the NSW list of scheduled stops and berthing then in Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore and China.

The cruise ship industry goes where its rapacious business model can be utilised most effectively and Australia has been the flavour of the month for a few seasons now, even if Sydney is losing its sheen.

Before this latest Martin Place brain snap Port of Yamba was the only open port in New South Wales that had not been targeted by cruise lines as a destination port. Perhaps in part because they realise that a barrier estuary – where the barrier is the remains of a once living indigenous woman turned to stone - and multiple deck cruise ships are as compatible as oil and water.

Now the NSW Berejiklian Government and, particularly the NSW National Party, want to include this small regional estuarine port in grand plans for increasing cruise ship traffic in the state. Even though, according to Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, by 2016 New South Wales had captured around 58 per cent of the total Australian cruise market annual dollar spend - that's not enough for those greedy politicians down south.

The government tells us these passenger ships will only be “smaller cruise vessels” but it is also considering building an international cruise terminal in the Clarence River estuary.

Now if one goes online and looks at the cruise ships currently operating on the Australian east coast what is immediately obvious is the dearth of "smaller" ocean-going passenger vessels which might enter the Clarence River safely.

There aren’t enough of them to bring the economic benefit NSW Minister for Maritime, Roads and Freight and MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey implies would flow into the Lower Clarence River along with these ships.

Currently the NSW Dept. of Transport is sending a React Future Transport 2058 van all over the state selling the Draft Future Transport Strategy 2058 and asking people to tell those manning this van what they would like to see happen with regard to local transport needs.

The van came to Grafton in the hinterland of the Clarence Valley on 27 November 2017 wanting to hear opinions on trains, buses, roads, cycleways and air travel, but carefully avoided mention of sea transport, cruise ships or a cruise terminal unless a local specifically asked.

This van is never coming to the Clarence Coast - residents will never see it in Maclean, Iluka or Yamba. Their opinions are being deliberately limited in this faux consultation.

So what is going on here?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the idea being canvassed by the Berejiklian Government that all three NSW designated regional ports should ideally be multi-purpose ports which include cargo shipping, cruise ships and naval facilities.

The state government's push to establish the cruise ship industry in the Clarence River estuary looks suspiciously like the first move to bring this about, as inevitably demands will come from the international cruise lines for significant dredging to occur from the river entrance and along main the navigation channel to ship berths.

If such dredging occurs then it is possible the Australian Navy will be encouraged to revisit its strategy for use of smaller coastal ports and, a Sydney-centric NSW Government will begin to insist more freight passes through the port despite the known strong opposition of the wider Clarence Valley community to an industrialised Clarence River estuary.

Now might be the time for Ms. Pavey to consider the possibility that, Oxley being a regional electorate bordering the Clarence electorate, may induce many increasingly concerned people in the Lower Clarence to pack a hamper, get in their car and drive down to Oxley for the day and campaign for whomever of her political rivals takes their fancy during the next state election.

At the very least many are likely to write to local papers in her electorate during the 2019 state election campaign informing them of her actions in Clarence.

These letters could start off by mentioning those troublesome smokestacks at WestConnex, her support of the foreign multinational miner Adani’s plans for a mega coal mine which will inevitably pollute the Great Barrier Reef if it goes ahead,  her failure to support road workers who built a section of the new Pacific Highway for her on zero pay for months (pay they are never likely to see), removing historic Windsor Bridge, the reaction of others to her bizarre transport strategy - before moving on to the mess she is about to make of the Clarence River estuary.

After all the Clarence Valley has a habit of standing up for the aesthetic, environmental, cultural, social and economic values that underpin community in this valley and the wider Northern Rivers region.

Just ask Metgasco, Australian Infrastructure Development or Malcolm Turnbull.


The name of the culturally significant reef just outside the mouth of the Clarence River is variously spelt Dirragun and Dirrangun in various books and documents, so both spellings are used interchangeably in North Coast Voices posts.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Turnbull Government employment services program a mess

Meanwhile in Australian Minister for Employment and Liberal Senator for Western Australia  Michaelia Cash’s ministerial portfolio…..

The Australian, 31 October 2017:

The Coalition’s flagship $7.3 billion employment services program has been branded a “hopeless mess” with fewer than 40 per cent of unemployed clients finding long-term work, more than a third of job agencies performing so badly they should be disqualified and warnings that fraud may go undetected.

The Australian has uncovered evidence of job agencies inducing or harassing former clients for pay slips from their new employers to claim taxpayer ­bonuses worth thousands of dollars each.

Agencies are handed incentive payments four weeks after a ­client starts a job and again at three months and cumulatively can get up to $13,750 at six months if the client stays in the job.

Fewer than 40 per cent of ­clients remain employed after six months and almost half of the $1.7bn the department spends on the program each year goes on administration.

An analysis by The Australian of the five-year program ­reveals 569 employment services sites out of 1648 around the nation have failed a measure set by the ­Department of Employment that requires their business be reduced or taken away entirely, but only 12 companies have had their share reduced.

The problem is particularly ­severe in Western Australia, the home state of Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, where just 14 per cent of the 107 employment services sites met the grade for service standards. Only two sites were operating above the national average but the department has “deferred” any shake-up of the private companies “to give providers an opportunity to ­improve their performance”.

The bonuses under the re­designed “jobactive” program launched by the Coalition are big business and, in many cases, ­securing them is the only revenue keeping the organisations afloat.

The Australian understands there are active moves within the Labor Party to reconsider the ­entire employment services model, and while opposition ­employment services spokesman Ed Husic was tight-lipped on the issue in August, he admonished the system in a speech to service providers.

“We spend roughly $9bn on government jobs programs, the second largest area of procurement outside of defence,” he said.

“We have 730,000 people out of work … 40,000 employment services consultants and only 20 per cent of the people helped by the government’s jobs programs find work for more than 26 weeks.”

The Salvation Army lost more than $1 million a month in the first 18 months of the scheme launched in July 2015 because it was not qualifying for the bonus payments it needed to.

David Thompson, the chief executive of Jobs Australia, the peak organisation for non-profit providers, said the system was a “hopeless mess”, not “hugely ­effective” and had been run to the advantage of the largest companies.

“On average, the staff who work at these places have a high-school-level education and a caseload of 150 jobseekers,” he said. “That’s average. Some of them have 300 people they have to see in a week. They do not have a ­relationship with anyone. It’s cheap.”….

The department declined to release the names of the companies in the “low-impact breaches” because it said it was “concerned that publishing such information may cause commercial harm to the relevant providers”.

Of the 65 providers contracted to deliver employment support services on behalf of the federal government, the Department of Employment has classified more than 43 per cent of having a risk rating of “extreme or high”.

Of this number, more than half were rated extreme or high due to concerns about their ongoing financial viability, more than one-third due to overall service standards, 28 per cent were deemed compliance risks and ­almost 4 per cent were categorised as being at risk of fraud.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

So you think it is a good idea, Gladys, allowing a small cruise ship into a relatively shallow Port of Yamba?

The Clarence River Estuary is part of the largest combined river-ocean commercial fishery on the Australian east-coast.

It also contains the Port of Yamba at its mouth.

Every vessel entering the port has to navigate past a coffee rock reef protected by Native Title which curves around the entrance waters.

The navigation channels these vessels sail range in depth from 3m to 5.5m on a good day.

This port can safely take vessels with an overall length of no more than 120m, a maximum beam of 20m and a draft limit of 5m or less.

Even small recreation boats straying a few feet out of the main navigational channel can sometimes get stuck in shifting mud banks. While the Yamba-Iluka ferry has been known to find itself momentarily stuck in sand within feet of the wharf in Yamba Bay.

This is the port that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has given the nod to as a cruise ship destination if the October 2017 announcement by two of her ministers is any indication. Minister Pavey’s office afterwards stating that the first small cruise ship is to arrive in October 2018.

That ship has been identified as the Caledonian Sky, a 26 year-old, 90.6m long vessel with 4200 gross tonnage, a beam width of 15.2m, maximum draft of 4m and a carrying capacity of 114 passengers.

This first cruise ship visit has been approved ahead of any investigation of estuary/port conditions and capacity, community consultation or practical preparation.

But what could possibly go wrong? It’s a small cruise ship, right? It will get in and out of the port OK, won’t it?

Well let us look at other small cruise ships which were not making their very first visit to the area in which they were sailing……..

A limited selection of typical maritime incidents involving small cruise ships 

8 July 2008 - Spirit of Glacier Bay grounded just after 7am (local time) today near Glacier Bay in Alaska. The ship had 51 people on-board. No injuries were reported. Unclear whether the grounding was caused by human error or a mechanical or electronic malfunction.

9 September 2009The Balmoral anchored off Portree, Skye with severe gales preventing it from berthing in the harbour. The liner departed Invergordon on 7 September with a reported 18 cases of the highly infectious novovirus among its 1,280 passengers and 516 crew.

23 May 2010 - Deutschland moored at the quay in Eidfjord in Norway when a fire broke out in the engine room. The 608 passengers were evacuated safely and 205 crew stayed on-board to help battle the fire. Damage was contained to an isolated area and limited with the help of fire doors.

29 August 2010 - M/V Clipper Adventurer  ran aground Friday when it hit a rock. It was carrying 110 passengers on a cruise through the Northwest Passage when the mishap happened. No injuries have been reported among the passengers and 69 crew members on board. In 2017 a Canadian court ordered the owners to pay pollution related costs and fines arising from the incident finding the Coast Guard properly warned the Clipper Adventurer's crew of the rock shelf through a notice to shipping, which was not on board the ship. The court wrote "as it was, this nonchalant attitude put the lives of close to 200 souls at risk." A total of 13 tanks aboard were breached during the grounding. Some of those tanks held fuel, freshwater and sludge.

15 September 2011 - MS Nordlys was sailing from Bergen, Norway to the town of Kirkenes when fire broke out in the engine room of the cruise ship with 207 passengers on-board.  Passengers were safely evacuated from the ship at the port of Alesund, Norway. Two crew members were killed and nine others were taken to the hospital for treatment. The investigation concludes that the fire probably started when a diesel leakage was ignited coming into contact with an un-insulated indicator valve on starboard main engine. The most probable cause of the diesel leakage was fatigue fracture in the feed pipes for a fuel injection pump due to the pump being loose. AIBN is of the opinion that insufficient job specification in the shipping company’s maintenance system had contributed to the fuel injection pump not being sufficiently fastened and to the indicator valve not being sufficiently insulated.
3 June 2012Independence allegedly discharge of soapy water into the harbour at Bar Harbor from the cruise ship as it was tied up to the town pier. The water was effluent from clothes washing machines on the ship; the overboard discharge valves to the forward washing machines had been left open. 

21 May 2013 - MS Serenissima, which had 112 people on board, became stuck in sand and gravel at about 18.30 on Monday 20 May. It was refloated at about 01:10 after an earlier attempt failed due to high winds.

11 May 2015 - MV Hamburg grounded on charted rocks near the New Rocks buoy in the Sound of Mull, Scotland with 461 persons on board. There were no injuries but the accident caused considerable raking damage to the hull and rendered the port propeller, shaft and rudder unserviceable. Ship’s captain plead guilty to two charges.
12 August 2015State of Alaska issued cruise ship operators 18 notices of violation involving 48 instances of excessive air emissions since 2010. Each violation of law carries a fine of approximately $37,500. Between 2009 and 2013 Alaska reportedly issued 174 Notices of Violation for cruise ships discharging in violation of Alaska Water Quality Standards.
23  December 2015 - Star Pride while passing through UNESCO World Heritage Site Coiba National Park on 22 December hit some slightly submerged rocks while attempting to navigate through a shallow channel. The ship underwent repairs in this delicate ecosystem.

31 March 2016 - Adventure Hornblower was attempting to dock at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, California. As the vessel made its approach to the pier, its bow unexpectedly swung to starboard and allided with the pier’s passenger embarkation dock. The ship then accelerated forward until it struck the seawall at the foot of the pier. Eight passengers sustained minor injuries in the accident. The allision caused nearly $1.06 million in damage to the vessel, pier, and seawall.

14 October 2016Pacific Princess struck a breakwater at Villefranche-sur-Mer (port to Nice, France) at 6am. The accident occurred in rough seas, with strong winds of over 50 mph (80 kph), causing the ship’s portside hull to hit rocks at the harbor’s entrance. Just as the vessel passed the harbor’s opening in the breakwater, a sudden gust of wind hit and skidded it into the breakwater’s wall. 

2 September 2016 - SeaDream I with 105 passengers and 61 crew caught fire off Naples, Italy. The vessel was making a voyage between Amalfi and Palinuro in Tyrrhenian sea, but one of the generators suffered failure and started smoking. The thick smoke and flames engulfed the whole engine compartment, causing damages to the engineering. Local authorities dispatched tug at the scene of the accident, which towed the cruise ship to Naples

19 December 2016 -  Spirit of Baltimore cruise ship captain fell asleep while navigating the ship on 28 August. Unattended, the boat with approx. 400 passengers veered off course and crashed into two moored recreational boats and floating pier at Henderson’s Wharf Marina in Fells Point, Maryland.

12 March 2017 - MV Caledonian Sky hit coral reefs at Crossover Reef, inflicting significant damage to one of the world's most biodiverse reefs on 4 March. It has been voted among the best diving spots in the world According to NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey this cruise ship will be mooring in Yamba in October 2018. This ship is a repeat offender having previously damaged coral off Medan in Sumartra.

5 April 2017 - L'Austral grounded on 9 January 2017 at Snares Island with hull breached and one ballast tank damaged. It then grounded a second time in Milford Sound on 9 February.

By now, Premier Berejiklian, you may be entertaining the idea that lining up the small regional port and town of Yamba for cruise ship visits may not be the best idea your government has floated.

But that's not what this port expansion push is really all about, is it Gladys?

No, your government has decided that all three small regional ports ideally should become multipurpose ports which include commercial shipping, cruise shipping and defence facilities as well as extensive channel & mooring area dredging to at least an 8m minimum with channel access suitable for ships 300m long - which is as long as a Panamax super freighter.

Sadly, in the future there won't be a viable, biodiverse, seafood rich, clean and green Clarence River Estuary if the Berejiklian Coalition Government has its way.


North Coast Voices, 15 March 2017, Is the NSW Dept. of Industry seeking to significantly expand the Port of Yamba?

Friday, 29 September 2017

WA company with Chinese & UK backing announces a desire to mine near, extract water from and potentially pollute Clarence River catchment waters

The Daily Examiner, 29 September 2017, p.1:

JUST 35km north-west of Grafton is a block of private land with the potential to change the face of Clarence Valley’s industry as we know it.

Mt Gilmore, which lies between Fine Flower and The Gorge, has been revealed to be home to several deposits of high-grade cobalt.

Now Western Australia-based company Corazon Mining is trying to work out just how big that deposit is, and whether it’s worth mining.

On June 16 2016, Corazon announced it had secured the right to earn up to 80% of the Mount Gilmore Cobalt-Copper-Gold Project from private company Providence Gold and Minerals Pty Ltd.

Their project tenure included one granted Exploration Licence covering an area of approximately 25km by 15km, and over the past couple of months they have been drilling to in an effort to find precious metals.

Corazon managing director Brett Smith said so far, things were looking good.

“We’ve been saying that this is one of the highest- grade cobalt deposits in Australia, we just don’t know how big it is,” he said. “There was a lot of gold and copper prospecting there back in the late 1800s, early 1900s, and so it’s amazing where it’s located how little modern exploration has gone on there.”

The reason they have their eye on cobalt, rather than gold or copper, is that the element’s value has risen exponentially in recent years due to its use in lithium-ion batteries.

Mr Smith said demand from the battery sector had tripled in the past five years and was projected to double again by 2020.

It is most commonly used in smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles.

“Cobalt is the most expensive raw material used for building lithium-ion batteries, paying about $61,000 per tonne,” Mr Smith said.

“A lot of people have been exploring for cobalt in NSW but are looking at oxide deposits. Ours is a bit different in that it’s a sulphide deposit, and they are fairly rare to be cobalt dominant.

“It’s all in vogue at the moment so we’re pretty hopeful this can be used to produce cobalt salts for batteries.”

Mr Smith said the company was currently on its second drill program, which they hoped could be used to accurately determine the lay of the land.’

Exactly what mining exploration licence is this newspaper article talking about?

Well according to NSW Planning & Environment on 1 September 2017 it is  EL8379 granted to Mt Gilmore Resources Pty Ltd on 23 June 2015.

So who is Corazon  Mining Limited?

The company’s 2016-17 Annual Report states:

Corazon Mining Limited (ASX: CZN) (“the Company” or “Corazon”) is an Australian based company exploring and developing the Lynn Lake Nickel-Copper-Sulphide project in Canada and Mt Gilmore Cobalt-Copper-Gold project in Australia.

It has three main exploration projects -  the Lynn Lake and  Victory projects both in Manitoba Canada and the Mt Gilmore Project in NSW Australia.

This is the corporations current Board of Directors:

Clive Jones, Non-Executive Chairman - 4,235,330 fully paid ordinary shares, 5,000,000 options exercisable at $0.035 expiring 31 March 2020, total annual remuneration $154,607
Brett Smith, Executive Managing Director - 7,107,131 fully paid ordinary shares, 10,000,000 options exercisable at $0.035 expiring 31 March 2020, total annual remuneration $417,250
Adrian Byass, Non-Executive Director - 9,357,370 fully paid ordinary shares, 7,000,000 options exercisable at $0.035 expiring 31 March 2020, total annual remuneration $144,600
Jonathan Downes, Non-Executive Director - 11,154,512 fully paid Ordinary Shares, 5,000,000 options exercisable at $0.035 expiring 31 March 2020, total annual remuneration $190,557
Mark Qiu, Non-Executive Director (appointed 18 August 2017) - 1,269,300 fully paid ordinary shares, total annual remuneration unknown
Robert Orr is company secretary and Chief Financial Officer, shareholding unknown, total annual remuneration $114,360.

The last annual report indicated that the company share structure comprised 1,039,283,317 fully paid ordinary shares held by 2,135 individual shareholders and, 60,000,000 unquoted options are held by 10 individual option holders.

The largest options holders are Brett Smith with 10 million held and Zenix Nominees Pty Ltd with 20 million held.

On 1 December 2016 the Company announced the issue of 3,410,840 shares to key management personnel in lieu of cash-based salary. This strategy was implemented in order to conserve cash reserves for operational expenditure.

Corazon Mining appears to be operating at a loss and apparently paid no tax in 2016-17.

Corazon Mining Limited’s Purchase Agreement for the Mt Gilmore Cobalt-Copper-Gold joint venture project:

Under the terms of the agreement with Providence and subject to Corazon completing due diligence to its sole satisfaction on or before 30 June 2016, Corazon has the exclusive right to earn up to an 80% interest in the Project as follows:

Corazon can earn an initial 51% interest by:
* Issuing Providence 25 million Corazon Mining Limited shares
* Paying cash reimbursements of costs totalling $100,000
* Spending $200,000 on exploration within the first 12 months from the date of satisfaction of all conditions precedent (“Commencement Date).

Corazon can earn a further 29% interest (totalling 80%) by:
* Completing $2M  in exploration within 3 years of the Commencement Date
* Paying $150,000 in cash or shares upon the earlier of the commencement of the third year and Corazon spending a minimum of $500,000 on exploration
* Paying $250,000 in cash or shares upon earning 80% equity in the Project.

Corazon has the opportunity to extend this earn-in period by one year by paying $50,000 in cash or shares.

According to Corazon Mining;

The Project is located only 35km from the major centre of Grafton in north-eastern New South Wales. Project tenure includes one granted Exploration Licence (EL8379 – one year old), covering an area of approximately 25km by 15km……

On 22 August 2017 the Company issued 139,856,665 fully paid ordinary shares at an issue price of $0.014. The share issue was comprised of:
- an issue of 120,000,000 shares to Hanking Australia Investments Pty Ltd under a Subscription Agreement for a $1,680,000 investment in the Company;
- an issue of 7,356,665 to sophisticated investors to raise $102,993; and
- an issue of 12,500,000 shares to Providence Gold and Minerals Pty Ltd pursuant to the Company’s Earn-in Agreement with Providence in respect of the Mt Gilmore Project. Under this Agreement, Corazon has the exclusive right to earn up to an 80% interest in the Project. The shares have a total valuation of $175,000.

On the same date, the Company also issued 85,000,000 options to Hanking Australia Investments Pty Ltd following their investment in the Company. The options were issued with an exercise price of $0.03 and an expiry of 22 August 2019.

On 18 August 2017, Dr Mark Qiu of Hanking Australia Investments Pty Ltd was appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors.

China Hanking Holdings Limited, registered in the Cayman Islands and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is the parent company of Hanking Australia Investments Pty Ltd.

The second largest shareholder in Corazon Mining Limited is Crescent Nominees Limited, a private equity firm registered in Northern Ireland since 2014 and owned by venture capitalist Crescent Capital NI Limited.

As part of NSW Minerals Week Corazon Mining Limited had a booth at the 14th Sydney Resources Round-Up in May 2017 where interested geologists could view their sulphide core from the 2016 Cobalt Ridge drilling program. 

Area in which the proposed cobalt mine would be situated

Satellite image of Mount Gilmore (height 372m) situated just above the Clarence River system at The Gorge

It doesn’t take a genius to look at this image and see the potential for heavy rain episodes over Mt. Gilmore leading to surface water runoff into Clarence River tributaries.

So the first question is; what happens if Corozon Mining was granted a mining licence by the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government and one or more of its heavy metal contaminated holding ponds were breached during such a rain period? The potential exists for any such breaches to result in long-term contamination of surrounding soils and water courses, as well as higher sediment levels in surface waters.

Heavy metal and metalloid concentrations within stream-estuary sediments already occur naturally in NSW north-eastern coastal rivers and current Clarence River levels are also the result of historic mining in the upper catchment below the Dorrigo Plateau region.

This leads to a second question. Can a river system, which supplies drinking water to est.126,008 residents (Census 2016) along with water to farmers, graziers and commercial fishers in the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City local government areas, safely tolerate higher heavy metal and metalloid concentrations in that water? Communities relying on the Clarence river system might not be happy with the thought of any increase in localised or overall toxicity.

Given that mining is a thirsty business and water used in its extractive processes has to come from nearby surface/groundwater sources, there is a third question which immediately springs to mind. In the face of increasing impacts from climate change can we afford to have the environmental water flow in the Clarence River system compromised further?

Then there is the question of required associated infrastructure, including transport of ore via trucks and rail – need I say more?

One has to wonder when Clarence Valley Council was going to mention this proposed mining activity to residents and ratepayers because it is highly likely that this mining company or someone acting on its behalf has approached either the Mayor or council administration.