Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Mine Discharge a Concern; No Residual Harm or a Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Mine Discharge a Concern; No Residual Harm or a Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Article excerpt

THE salty issue of mine water being discharged into the Fitzroy River system still has many people worried, despite repeated assurances from government agencies.

Rockhampton man Bob Munns voiced his concerns to the Bully. We asked the Department of Environment and Resource Management to respond.

WE ARE told that the discharges from the mines from time to time into the Fitzroy catchment leaves no residual harm to the river system which is flushed out by heavy rainfall.

If you believe that then you believe in fairies. While water testing from time to time might in theory show drops in water salinity back to normal levels, what about the accumulation of toxins etc that are deposited on the bottom and the banks of the river through the settling off of the soils in the runoff and in the mine discharges. Over time they build up to quite significant levels and how do they ever get cleaned up. The whole of the river bed can't be dredged to get rid of them. What about the pondage area behind the barrage? The barrage acts like a gold pan and the sediments settle on the bed of the pondage area. What on earth is building up down there and what a disaster once we all discover that the build-up is highly toxic and can't be rectified. It obviously can't then be dredged out because the same thing would happen there as happens in the Gladstone Harbour if and when that is dredged. Let's hear from the experts.

Bob Munns

DERM's response

THE Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) is continuing to closely monitor the Fitzroy Basin as part of its independent water quality monitoring program.

Monitoring carried out over recent years has shown no evidence of mine discharges having caused any residual harm to the environment.

The volume of water released by mines is a very small percentage of the average annual total flow of the Fitzroy River catchment. …

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