The man promoting a controversial underground gold mine near Majors Creek was in charge of an Australian mine in the Philippines which discharged cyanide-laden waste into creeks, killing fish and other marine creatures.

The Philippines Government imposed a record fine of $A267,000 against Lafayette after investigating two instances of cyanide in water surrounding its polymetallic project site in 2005.

Lafayette Mining chief executive at the time, Andrew McIlwain, has recently has been proposing cyanide processing near Majors Creek, at the head of the water catchment for up to 100,000 people on the South Coast.

In a 2008 report Oxfam mining ombudsman said mining at Rapu Rapu was suspended when mine waste discharged, which contained 633 times the standard for cyanide set by the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Last week, Unity Mining withdrew its proposal for cyanide processing at Majors Creek because of strong community objections. Mr McIlwain also announced his resignation.

Subsequently when asked, Mr McIlwain told the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner he was surprised Rapu Rapu mine's past had not come to light earlier, but was not a factor in his decision to resign.

"What happened in the Philippines was one of sabotage," Mr McIlwain said. "In fact it didn't hurt anyone and it didn't kill fish."

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald - see full article