Mt Morgan gold mine safe, Hinchliffe says

Queensland mining minister Stirling Hinchliffe has hit back at senator Barnaby Joyce, claiming the Mount Morgan mine “is managed to the highest environmental standards.”

His comments follow Joyce’s claims that the Government has failed to address the issue of contaminated water leaking from the Mt Morgan gold mine’s pit lake.

Hinchliffe explained that the Government has a strong management plan for the closed central Queensland mine which included measures to manage the water releases.

“We’re just finishing a $1.8 million upgrade of the water treatment plant to increase water treatment capacity from two to three megalitres a day,” he said.

Barnaby Joyce claimed that the pit lake is almost full and there is the potential for it to spill out into the nearby Dee River.

“There has never been an uncontrolled spill of water from the open cut pit in the mine’s history,” Hinchliffe stated.

He went on to say that there were two controlled releases were carried out in March, after the public were first informed. 

“The water in the open cut pit is not toxic or poisonous and while it contains elevated levels of copper, aluminium, magnesium and other metals along with sulphate salts, these occur naturally.

“During the latest release on March 19, pH levels in the pit were 2.9 which is about the same as grapefruit juice.”

The Mount Morgan mine is the largest abandoned mine site that is managed under the Abandoned Mine Lands Program (AMLP).

Norton Goldfields currently holds the mining leases over the site and are assessing project feasibility for the recovery of gold, copper and potentially pyrite via the reprocessing of the mine’s tailings.

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