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Mine Contamination Concerns

Kim Booth

Kim Booth  -  Friday, 22 August 2014

Tags: Mining, Environment

Concerns have been raised that an apparent breach of the safety bund wall of a disused open-cut tin mine on the West Coast could potentially contaminate Trial Harbour with acid mine drainage affected spillage.

“The Greens have received reports of a breach in the safety bund wall of the old Dundas Razorback tin mine site near Zeehan, with potentially acid mine drainage contaminated water spilling towards the Dundas river,” Greens Leader and Mining spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.

“The Dundas River flows into the Little Henty River which discharges near the Trial Harbour shack village.”

“The examples of the King and Queen rivers make abundantly clear the threat of acid mine drainage contamination poses to these West Coast rivers.”

“The local shack community based at Trial Harbour enjoy swimming and fishing for crayfish in these waters downstream from this breach.  People deserve an assurance that any heavy metal run off has not reached the waterways or the harbour.”

“The very real environmental and human health risks associated with acid mine contamination raises urgent questions about this breach.”

“Given the known issues with potential acid mine drainage from open cut mines, and the sensitivity of the West Coast water catchments, has Mineral Resources Tasmania been actively monitoring this disused site or is it a case of out of sight, out of mind?”

 “Apparently the Razorback mine site in question closed down in the 1980s, which means that this potential acid mine contaminated water leaching out now could contain over thirty years worth of heavy metals and other toxins.”

“This potentially serious contamination event sends a loud message which must be heeded. The  Razorback tin  mine owners walked away over 30 years ago, leaving the next generation to clean up the mess which  highlights the need for an adequate royalty regime and substantial long term remediation bonds to provide for clean-ups years later.”

“We have a large number of legacy mine sites around the state, and we cannot afford to only react when something goes wrong,” Mr Booth said.