Farmers uncertain of their future following Iron Road announcement

AFFECTED: Tash O'Brien, Trisha van de Vorstenbosch, David Murphy, Craig Sampson and Jenny Sampson at the Sampson's property, which would border the mine dump site. Picture: Luca Cetta

AFFECTED: Tash O'Brien, Trisha van de Vorstenbosch, David Murphy, Craig Sampson and Jenny Sampson at the Sampson's property, which would border the mine dump site. Picture: Luca Cetta

There was a sense of resignation for Warramboo landowners as the Iron Road mining lease and development approval was announced last week.

Iron Road’s Central Eyre Iron Project will have a big impact on six local landowners who are angry they found out about the approval through the media.

“We feel deflated, devastated and angry,” Craig Sampson said.

David Murphy said he did not know what the future would hold.

“We were expecting it but nothing prepares you for losing what you have worked for for decades,” he said.

“One son wants to keep farming, if we walk out we might go farm elsewhere.”

Mr Murphy is set to lose three blocks on his property, one located at the centre of the mine, another on the railway line and one which will have access cut.

“We will be non-viable if they take the three home blocks.”

Trisha van de Vorstenbosch said she would lose some land, while Tash O’Brien would be next to the site and the Sampson’s neighbouring the dump site.

Craig Sampson and wife Jenny are the third generation of farmers, producing wheat, barley and livestock.

With their children also involved and a grandchild on the way, they hoped that would spill into a fifth generation but now feel they cannot look long-term.

“You are not a farmer nine to five, you live here, you work here and our family has been here for generations,” Mr Sampson said.

“For now we will get our seeding done – we are farmers, we need to look after our businesses – and deal with this too.”

They said Iron Road’s conduct left much to be desired.

“There was a lack of compassion shown by Iron Road to those affected, who did not even receive a courtesy call,” Mrs Sampson said.

Iron Road stakeholder engagement principal advisor Tim Scholz said the company was aware some landholders felt they had been disrespected by not being forewarned.

He said Iron Road would have liked to inform landholders but as it was “a government driven process” it was out of the company’s hands and that a meeting held at Warramboo warned the community the announcement was imminent.

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