Govt called upon to stop the river's ticking "toxic time bomb"

Tom Foster on the Dee River downstream from Mount Morgan where a 1 cm deposit of white material has settled on the riverbed. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Tom Foster on the Dee River downstream from Mount Morgan where a 1 cm deposit of white material has settled on the riverbed. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

TOM Foster describes the Dee River in Mount Morgan as a toxic time bomb, which is why he wants the public to know it could kill someone if the Federal and State Governments don't intervene quickly.  

He and local businessman Dominic Doblo are among the many supporters trying to push the issue onto the table fast.  

Mr Doblo said a meeting last week held at Mt Morgan, and attended by Department of Natural Resources and Mines assistant Minister Lisa France, was "absolutely pointless".  

The meeting was an overview of the mine operation at Mt Morgan.  

It also addressed what was being done in the aftermath of the mine overflowing as a result of the recent floods. "This river is the worst it has ever been," Mr Doblo said.  

"There is evidence of aluminium sulphate and cadmium in the Dee River … cadmium, according to the Federal Government website, is a major cause of kidney and prostate cancer.    

"Nothing was seriously said at the meeting … Federal and State both have to put in money to fix the problem."

Mr Foster said there was evidence of toxicity in local fauna and flora on the banks of the Dee River.  

He also claimed people in Dululu were having bad skin reactions because they had made contact with the water.  

"The Mt Morgan mine is an 11,000ML (mega litre) hazardous polluting toxic time bomb … it is sitting right on Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast's door step," he said.  

"This overflow could have been avoided because there has been more than 10 years for our Governments to address the problem. The water has been rising in the mine over this period.  

"My concern is that no information has ever been given to the media about the mine's inability to contain all of the seepage from the Mt Morgan mine, or do they have a disaster plan in place to deal with such an event."  

In a letter, Mr Foster suggested that to stop the overflow from the mine, a separate diversion catchment drain below the No 8 Dam needed to be built.  

He claimed this measure could reduce the polluted water from the mine by about 50%.  

Capricorn Enterprise boss Mary Carroll, who chaired the meeting, said there was good community turnout at the meeting.  

A reliable source told the Morning Bulletin that the State Government was injecting $2 million into the Mt Morgan Mine overflow problem and had invested more money into the project than any other previous Government.  

The source also said of the 15,000 abandoned mine sites, Mt Morgan was the first priority on the State Government's list.  

The Minister of Natural Resources and Mines was contacted for comment late on Friday afternoon, but was not able to respond at such short notice.  

Topics:  dee river mount morgan mine

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