$1 million lawsuit filed against Xstrata over Mount Isa lead poisoning

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Townsville mother Daphne Hare has launched a $1 million lawsuit against Xstrata Mount Isa Mines, alleging her daughter suffers from lead poisoning.

Hare said her nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with irreversible brain damage after living in Mount Isa.

The law suit has been filed against Xstrata Mount Isa Mines, Mount Isa City Council, and the Queensland government.

Fellow Mount Isa local Sharnelle Seeto has also filed a similar claim against the three organisations.

Hare’s case alleges the injuries were caused because the company, council, and Government had failed to warn residents in Mount Isa that they were at risk of lead inhalation or ingestion.

Hare told the Townsville Bulletin she had initially attempted to settle the matter out of court but the negotiations had been unsuccessful.

“We put the offer of $500,000 to them, that’s all we wanted, but they offered us nil,” she said.

The case alleges that in 1994 an investigation revealed 15 per cent of Mount Isa children had blood lead levels three times highter than the National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines.

Further sampling up to 1996 revealed more lead contamination in children.

It also alleges widespread distribution of heavy metals came from dust exiting the Mount Isa mine.

It said the dust left the mine via work clothing and boots, vehicles, and other equipment.

An Xstrata spokesperson said in February there was no risk to living in the area.

"Mount Isa is a very safe place to live, and generations of families have grown and prospered here," he said.

He said since the Mount Isa air monitor had not returned any unusual findings since Xstrata started operations in 2003.

Xstrata are yet to be served any court documents relating to this claim.

Last year, following complaints of contamination, investigations into the company found that it had not exceeded legal lead levels.

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