Contamination fears for Dee River

Calls have been made for a full investigation into pollution in the Dee River, with fears of contamination from nearby closed mines.

The Queensland member for Mirani, Ted Malone, said he is worried that the Dee River’s very blue-green colour is unnatural and that something is very wrong with the waterway, according to The Morning Bulletin.

Malone called for a comprehensive inquiry into contaminated water leaking into the river from the Mount Morgan mine, and to identify it as an environmental hazard.

“With controlled releases of highly contaminated mine water this year, as well as seepage offsite, the Dee is in a contemptible state. It is void of life and lined with a precipitate containing heavy metals and it will soon be past the rehabilitation stage if the government does not step in and fully rehabilitate the mine site,” chairman of the Wowan/Dululu Landcare Group, Neal Johnson, said.

These calls come after the QLD Government announced a boost in funding for the rehabilitation of the Mount Morgan and Mount Oxide mines.

It announced $24.2 million in funding to ensure the safe management and rehabilitation of historic mine sites.

Mining minister Stirling Hinchliffe stated that historic mines such as Mt Morgan and Mt Oxide are a legacy of old mining practices and need safe management.

“This is Government is committed to managing problems caused by past mining practices,” Hinchliffe said.

“Problems with old and outdated mining practices were created over many years and will take many years to address but we won’t shy away from that.

“That’s why we’re investing a further $24.2 million over four years for mine management and rehabilitation, $6 million of this operational and capital funding will be invested during 2011-12.”

However, Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce stated that the government has failed to address the issue of contaminated water in Mt Morgan’s pit lake.

He said the pit lake is almost full and could leak into the Dee River, exacerbating residents concerns of contamination.

Joyce did state, following the funding, “thankfully now they are doing something”.

QLD mines minister Stirling Hichliffe stated that the government had also just completed a $1.8 million upgrade of the Mt Morgan mine water treatment plant to increase capacity to one billion litres each year, to allay fears of uncontrolled releases.

Image: Dee River – The Morning Bulletin.