There was once the possibility of mining diamonds from the …

Comment on Miners are spreading myths, says environmentalist by Trevor Shiell.

There was once the possibility of mining diamonds from the Kimberlite pipes at the Merlin deposits near Boroloola by members of the Gutnick family who were prominent mining entrepreneurs at that time.
The project never went ahead, I suspect, because diamond supply and consequent price is still tightly controlled by the De Beers family and other South African interest.
At one time I was a shareholder in the Merlin mine but the ethics of it smelled to high heaven and I quit.
There is no shortage of diamonds but the marketing is so tightly controlled to prevent barriers to further entry.
In addition the main value is in industrial use and in the small but lucrative top end of the market.
Like in so many of the high end uses (recently well demonstrated in the high fashion industry and in our own Indigenous art, where thousands of fine pieces are held in reserve for fear of flooding the market). The idea is to restrict supply to drive up price. There is little value in that for us in the NT as nice and comfortable as it may sound to have the Indigenous women cutting and polishing stones in the Mall thus increasing the supply and driving the price down.
If it were not so there would be an immense flood of polished stone coming out of West Africa.
The powers in control of the market will never let it happen – a sad reality of marketing.
Re the development of other industries which are a more immediate need for us: The failing of this and previous governments has been the lack of proactive planning when new industries have emerged.
The most most obvious ones of recent times have not been diamonds but medicinal cannabis, a billion dollar industry well suited to here, and production of hydrogen from water and solar power for the hydrogen car revolution coming our way.
The establishment of hydrogen production facility in Adelaide was justified on the intensity of the sunlight in Adelaide!
No-one thought to ask them to investigate The Centre, and this lack of proactive planning and action is the root cause of our economic woes.
Where are the demonstration plots of medicinal cannabis to attract the investors?
All covered in houses. And here we are involved in the Beetaloo gas discussions re fracking while the Permian beds under Texas and Mexico have so much gas that they are having difficulty giving it away.
We stew in our own juice.

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

CLP would build gallery at Desert Park, not Anzac precinct
It should be at Desert Knowledge and used as a training ground for the students at Yirara College in management of their own cultural heritage and as a positive display of Indigenous education art and culture.
It should a major component of a brand new tourism precinct between The Gap and the airport with the new visitors centre, with plenty of parking and a bush foods orchard plus community facilities at the sadly under-utilised Transport Hall of Fame.
Townsville has a mining centre of excellence.
We have a great mineral museum at ASRI. Why not here?
Can anyone really proclaim the success of the dinosaur museum or why two major banks moved out from that area?
This would release the CBD to do what it does so well – accomodation and retail.
Again we have failed to cherry pick the best of what is happening elsewhere.
The other side of Longreach there is a long display of old time machinery right along the major highway which together with the Old Ghan engine, and first semi where many tourists stop now, would make a magnificent entry to a brand new tourism precinct.


Gas fuelled reconstruction for the Territory
One wonders which rock some people live on.
The Permian Basin under Texas has more gas than the world needs for years with more in train.
Prices are low.
The East Coast may be short of gas in a market constrained in part by manipulation by our largest investment bank to jack up prices for them.
The Connor plan of 40 years ago was the answer with a nation wide network of pipelines.
On the other hand, the Feds have just released their National Hydrogen Strategy and the shortest and most cost effective way to get gas east from the NW shelf is to Brewer and Tennant creek – a fact not unnoticed by the said bank. Hence their investment.
But the shortsighted approach so common here has prevailed again in a lack of long term vision.
We don’t need Beetaloo. In the meantime the Feds have just put out their National Hydrogen Strategy. The first to jump on this was Queensland and Real Energy (ASX RLE) which is in the process of establishing Pure Hydrogen Corporation, in Queensland, of course, which will power 240,000 vehicles for a year with no pollution! We could have had that here but again the government had blinkers and fumes in their eyes.
A similar thing is happening South of Adelaide (hydrogen) based on the quality of their sunlight(?).
We never invited them to come here, but our biggest asset is our sunlight. Additionally we have two high production and lucrative helium wells close by here and feeling very neglected, as the rest of Alice Springs constantly does.


Wakefield ready for fight: affirms intention to acquire oval
Did the Dinasaur museum do anything to enliven that end of the mall? Figures on entry? (Todd Tavern does better.) It too should have been at the Geological museum at AZRI in conjunction with the cultural centre across the road at Yirara, involving the students, and a new contemporary visitors’ centre at the Transport Hall of Fame, as in Katherine and as apart of a brand new tourism precinct between the gap and the airport, leaving the current CBD as a historical display site – what’s left of it!.
Pitchi Richi site? Shameful in spite of the best interests of some locals.
Townsville has a mining centre of excellence,like we should have at at the Minerals display at ASRI. It’s almost like we are ashamed of our unique geology.
Qld has a solar highway Brisbane to Cairns. What have we got on our approaches? City type metropolitan houses so Southern tourists can feel at home.
How long will it be before Governments realise that the economic future of the town lies South of the gap in spite of the vested interests protecting their backsides North of the gap. The number of vehicles moving in that direction daily should surely tell them something.


Lucky the Town Council isn’t in the forestry business
Forget the ombudsman. He has moved to Darwin just like the Jacana lady and the PAWA person.
If you want to contact them breed some messenger pigeons and wait to be contacted within the next few working days. Or weeks. We really don’t matter to them and what was once the Berrimah line had morphed into the great wall of Katherine.


A touch of light: termite alates
I have never understood why the active ingredient in native pine has not been isolated and used to protect our timber houses.
Much better than CCA treatment from all points of view and why CCA vineyard training fences are now strictly controlled.
Most people don’t take the trouble to find out what the “A” in CCA stands for arsenic. This is of course, also why the original telegraph line used native pine poles.
What is it in native pine that repels termites? No one ever bothered to ask and this could have been a significant project economically for this town where termites are a real problem.
The significance of this has never been seen by the science or political community.
One would have thought that in the common good of he community the task of using this common observation to our advantage would have been instantly assigned to DKA or CSIRO to investigate and applied for the common good.
This is just another example of political thought, common sense observation, scientific training, and political ignorance are often mutually exclusive, and why I built my deck with Cyprus pine.


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