Those words certainly conveyed stark finality or utter despair.
The 3,000 plus villagers, represented by the Action Committee Against the Use of Cyanide, had wanted to seek leave from the High Court to pursue their claim against Raub Goldmining Sdn Bhd.
They had wanted the company to provide a detailed environment impact assessment report and to stop the project.
“We did not know that this toxic was being used and we are extremely upset that the company has been allowed to use it in close proximity to our village.
“This is also a danger as the project is located near the Sungai Koman river with the possibility that the toxic may seep into the waterways.
"Since the project had commenced in February, the residents’ health deteriorated due to the effects of cyanide,” said a resident, adding that the authorities should have consulted and briefed the residents on the potential health risks involved.
An independent report on the project had found that the greatest environmental and health risk of the project was the potential release of heavy metals which could contaminate groundwater and surface water supplies in the vicinity of the project area.
The residents cited incidents elsewhere, including one in 2000 when a dam at a goldmine reprocessing facility in
Instead of allaying the fears of the residents, raw arrogance was displayed by the Chief Executive of the Company. At a press conference Andrew Kam said that in 1997, an EIA report stated that it was all right to use cyanide for mining if the process was carried out properly.
Kam said the residents were aware this. However, the residents disputed this later and said that the report did not mention anything about cyanide.
Meanwhile, Kam said the mine would bring economic opportunities to the area.
“This is a democratic country. Everybody has the right to voice their opinions, but they are the minority of the majority.
“The majority are looking for jobs, for food, for development and such. You have to look at the majority. You just cannot cater for the interest of a small group,” he added.
Commenting on the protest, he said: “What do the people know? Some of the people may not have been briefed properly. Some of the people don’t understand. They just talk about the cyanide.”
“In 2001, we won the national award for factory safety. We are very proud of our safety record. I don’t believe we intend to harm the community here,” he stressed.
But this is 2009! And cyanide was not used in 2001.
In a related development, the residents have collected 6,000 signatures for their campaign protest the use of cyanide. The committee’s aims to obtain 10,000 signatures before making their case to the Prime Minister’s Department.
Tomorrow some Barisan Rakyat Bloggers would be joining the residents in a dialogue.