Toxic mine leak angers grazier
A NORTH-WEST grazier who has been hounding the State Government for three years to do something about a toxic leak from a nearby mine flowing into his property does not know what else to do.
Verdun ‘ ‘ Brussie’’ Spreadborough, who owns Chindra Station at Gunpowder north of Mount Isa, said he would love to take the government to court over the issue, but simply could not afford to.
Mr Spreadborough said every wet season since 2009, waste water from the Mount Oxide mine had been running through his property, turning creeks and rivers bright blue.
He said while scientists had been out to test the water, he had not heard back about whether it was safe.
M r S p r e a d b o r o u g h s a i d although the toxic leak had not caused him any health concerns a p a r t f r o m s t r e s s , h e was worried about his livestock.
RISKY: waste water from Mount Oxide mine flows into Chindra Station
‘‘ As far as I know, it doesn’t affect the meat in the cattle, but . . . it affects their immune system,’’ he said.
‘‘ So they could get a cold and get sick a lot easier.’’
Mr Spreadborough said he did not think the problem would go on for so long and hoped enough media attention would prompt the State Government to finally act.
‘‘ They’ve done some work here trying to fix the problem, but it hasn’t seemed to have worked,’’ he said.
‘ ‘ I t ’ s a big environmental issue. . . ( but) I can’t afford to take the government to court.’’
A Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation mines and energy spokesman said staff at the mine were completing an inspection and assessment program.
‘‘ This includes taking water samples and assessing the current situation following recent rain events,’’ he said.
‘‘ The department will review its findings after staff return from Mount Oxide to determine the next stage of the remediation works program.
‘‘ The site is in very remote isolated terrain and the annual wet season restricts access to it.’’
The spokesman said the department along with the Department of Environment and Resource Management had already cleaned up and fixed part of the problem at the site.
‘‘ More than $ 1 million has been invested in works including stream clean-up operations, water quality testing and monitoring, livestock assistance to the affected landholder, and covering old ore stockpiles with plastic to prevent infiltration and leaching from the stockpile areas into local streams,’’ he said.
‘‘ The department continues to work closely with the affected landholder, traditional owners and other government agencies to develop long-term solutions and minimise potential i mpacts.’’