Independent environmental monitor finds ‘high level of compliance’ at McArthur River Mine | Ralph-Lauren

Must Read


A long-delayed report by an independent monitor has found no significant environmental issues requiring urgent investigation at the McArthur River Mine, but environmentalists have condemned the assessment as a “tick-and-flick exercise”.

The Glencore-owned mine, 700 kilometres south-east of Darwin, is one of the world’s largest zinc and lead mines.

Over the past decade, it has been the subject of significant environmental issues, including a huge burning waste rock dump and lead contamination of fish and cattle.

But independent monitor Advisian found the mine achieved a “high level of compliance” with its environmental obligations between 2018 and 2020, including the management of waste rock.

“This finding is an indicator of a high level of environmental performance achieved by the operator,” it said.

It also found “overall good health” of the river system, adding it was safe for people to eat commonly caught fish, including barramundi, from the McArthur River.

However, it noted mussels and rainbow fish in Barney Creek — which is directly adjacent to the mine and is off-limits to the public — contain metal concentrations above maximum-permitted levels.

Environment Centre questions report’s findings

As part of the mine’s ongoing operations, a government-appointed independent monitor is supposed to assess the mine’s environmental performance each year.

But no reports were issued in 2019 and 2020, which the Environment Centre NT (ECNT) described as “unacceptable”.

The Environment Centre said the latest findings were in sharp contrast with previous reports issued by the former independent monitor, Erias Group.

“We’re completely bewildered by this independent monitor report, which is so vastly out of step with every other independent monitor report that’s ever been published with respect to this mine,” ECNT co-director Kirsty Howey said.

Head shot of Kirsty Howey, wearing glasses, with a park behind her.
Environment Centre NT co-director Kirsty Howey says she is “completely bewildered” by the report.(

ABC: Dane Hirst

)

Ms Howey said several significant risks identified in the last report in 2018 were not adequately addressed in the new report.

One of those concerns was the possibility of the river forming a new channel and putting the integrity of the mine’s levee wall at risk.

“We have no way of knowing whether those risks have actually been addressed by the mine,” Ms Howey said.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, which oversees the Mining Management Act, said the mine had already addressed previous concerns about the levee wall.

“Reports regarding the implementation of control measures and subsequent results of monitoring have been provided to the department … and also to the [independent monitor] during the performance audit,” it said.

“The findings of the reports indicate that the control measures are effective in reducing the avulsion risk from catastrophic breaches.”

Ms Howey also questioned whether the new report was as rigorous as those by the previous independent monitor.

However, the department disputed that, saying the independent monitor was provided with “unfettered access to the mine site, responsible individuals and all relevant documentation” when preparing its report.

The Minister for Mining, Nicole Manison, said McArthur River Mine was subject to the most scrutiny in the Northern Territory.

“It’s under more transparency and more rigorous assessment than any other mine,” Ms Manison said.

Nicole Manison (2)
Minister for Mining Nicole Manison said the terms of reference for the independent monitor were “appropriate”.(

ABC News: Callan McLaughlin

)

Ms Manison said the delay in the independent monitor’s report was partly the result of travel bans caused by the pandemic last year.

She said the terms of reference for the independent monitor were “appropriate”.

The general manager of McArthur River Mining, Steven Rooney, said the independent monitor’s report was “confirmation that our environmental management systems are rigorous, robust and appropriate to protect the McArthur River and surrounding environment”.



Source link

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Why Australia must do more to condemn Myanmar’s military coup

It is 1988. I march with fellow students towards Yangon City Hall, chanting, “We want democracy!” A military...

More Articles Like This