The Queensland Government has 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“Problems with old and outdated mining practices were created over many years and will take many years to address but we won’t shy away from that.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.”
Hinchliffe has previously outlined the safe management of the Mt Morgan mine after concerns were raised by senator Barnaby Joyce over contaminated water leaking from the former gold mine’s pit lake.
Joyce claimed the pit lake is almost full and could potentially leak into the nearby Dee River.
However, Hinchliffe stated that the Government has a strong management plan for the closed central Queensland mine which included measures to manage the water releases and included a $1.8 million upgrade of the water treatment plant to increase water treatment capacity from two to three megalitres a day.
“There has never been an uncontrolled spill of water from the open cut pit in the mine’s history,” Hinchliffe said.
He went on to say that there were two controlled releases were carried out in March this year, 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.”
In regards to the latest Government funding, the minister said that “the works we are funding will provide long-term reduction of safety and environmental risks, and minimise potential spills of contaminated water from the sites.
“While mining practices and regulations have changed meaning companies are now required to rehabilitate land when mining operations wind up, we want to work with the industry to ensure legacy issues can be dealt with well into the future,” he said.