MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Calls for independent inquiry over mining 'debacle' at Mount Todd

Published by MAC on 2005-01-17


Calls for independent inquiry over mining 'debacle'

ABC Newsnet

January 17 2005

Northern Territory environmentalists maintain an independent inquiry is still needed over the clean-up of a former Top End mine.

The Territory Government has appointed Mintech Chemical Industries to neutralise nearly 700,000 litres of cyanide stored at the Mount Todd Mine, 150 kilometres south-east of Darwin.

Peter Robertson from the Northern Territory Environment Centre says while the appointment is welcome, there is still a number of outstanding issues.

"It's turned into a massive debacle," he said. "It's going to cost the public over $20 million to fix up the mess down there.

"There needs to be an inquiry into how we got into this situation and what's going to be done to make sure it never happens again.

"We also want to see a levy put on the mining industry to help cover the cost of cleaning up Mount Todd."

Mr Robertson believes there was originally more cyanide at the site than the Government has reported.

"There's still questions to be asked about just how much cyanide there was to begin with when this mine was first shut down, as compared to how much there is now in the two remaining cyanide tanks," he said.

"Depending on how much has gone missing, the public does need to be told what happened to the missing cyanide, and if it leaked out into the environment than we need to know about that."

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