Mine dust raises concerns

NEAR THE SITE: Neil Harris with Pam King and Colin Leask near the mine site last year. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

NEAR THE SITE: Neil Harris with Pam King and Colin Leask near the mine site last year. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

A HEATHCOTE sheep farmer has raised health concerns about a nearby gold and antimony mine.

Neil Harris, 53, says his wife recently completed a urine test that came back with more than 20 times the recommended level of antimoney.

"My wife is who I least expected to have an elevated level of antimoney in her urine because she only sleeps here of a night time," he said.

"So she's only breathing the air of a morning and of a night - she doesn't work on the farm.

"It's very concerning."

Mr Harris said the public deserved to know what is in the dust rising from Mandalay Resources' mine site at Costerfield.

Mandalay Resources is aware of a complaint lodged in relation to dust from the mine’s processing plant. 

Costerfield Mine general manager Andre Booyzen said dust emissions from the mine were stringently controlled to meet strict requirements set by the government. 

Mr Booyzen said Mandalay Resources had been working closely with the Department of Health and the Mines Department to investigate the concerns raised by in relation to dust emissions. 

“We have a proactive dust monitoring program in place which has been approved by the regulatory authorities," he said.

"Mandalay Resources takes its environmental obligations very seriously. 

Farmer encourages health checks

"The mine is aware of the potential to generate dust during hot and dry conditions and uses water sprays, dust extraction systems and road watering programs to prevent dust leaving the mine site."

Meanwhile, Mr Harris has been encouraging people with properties near the mine site to have health checks for antimony.

According to Mandalay's website, the company purchased the mine from Western Coal in December 2009.

The company restarted capital development and mining immediately, ramping through year-end 2010 to the planned production rate of ,000 tonnes per month.

Significant improvements in mining and processing methods since then has enabled production to grow to the 10,000-12,000 t/m range by early 2013, a sustainable level.

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