Will the Clarence River suffer the same fate as the Macleay River if the Antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek, in the catchment of the Clarence River, is reopened?
Just how polluted is the Macleay River?An operator of tourist cabins on the upper Macleay River was told by local health authorities not to pump water from the Macleay River because of pollution. Lucky for him that he had some tank water available. Then he and his neighbours saw many dead fish floating in the river. The tourist operator says he was told by the Environmental Protection Agency that the fish would have been killed by something else other than pollution from the Hillgrove mine, such as dog baits.
Reluctant to fish in the river and having no reassuring contact from authorities that the river's fish are not contaminated by either arsenic or antimony, he is left in a most invidious position.
He also wonders whether the Kempsey Shire Council needed to build a new water treatment plant for Bellbrook because of extra arsenic pollution from the Hillgrove mine.
“The construction of this plant will solve the problems associated with heavy metals contamination of the raw water supply at Bellbrook over a number of years,” said Mayor Bowell.
Kempsey Shire Council Media release - 4 June 2009
.......Testing of this water supply in March 2005 showed it contained levels of arsenic slightly above the level recommended in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
Results from a regular testing program run by Kempsey Shire Council and the North Coast Area Health Service’s Public Health Unit continue to show levels above the Guidelines.
Exposure to high levels of arsenic over a long period of time can result in health problems.
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Anthony Albanese MP, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water, Manager of Opposition Business, Paul Sekfy, Labor candidate for Cowper,19 November 2007
The question is how much of the arsenic pollution is naturally occurring? Has the natural level of arsenic in the local soils been added to by pollution from the Hillgrove Mine site? Are taxpayers bearing the cost of pollution by a mining company? How safe is the water in the Macleay River?
The absolute disdain by the coalition members for the concerns of the residents of these areas is evident in the replies by them to the questions put to them by Jeremy Buckingham. See the links to Hansard below.
Hansard 1 - Gold Mining
Hansard 2 - Antimony mining
With the foreshadowed reopening of the Hillgrove mine will the Macleay River be a toxic waste dump in the near or distant future? Will the jobs deriving from the mine's reopening compensate for the many jobs lost because of a toxic river?
Story in Macleay Argus
|Lower Creek residents Graeme Wilson, Darrel Turnbull, Sally Hill and Yvette Wilson with local children at the Bellbrook bridge. They want the river protected. (Published Macleay Argus September 27, 2011)|