Costerfield concerns heat up

THE Costerfield community plans to file a class action against Mandalay Resources, following concerns about pollution of their properties.

Residents are questioning the possible health impacts of a naturally-occurring metal antimony, which has been detected in 29 out of 30 local residents.

A report commissioned by the Victorian government found elevated levels of antimony around Costerfield but determined that adverse health effects were unlikely.

However Ian Magee, who is representing the group of residents, says antimony had a higher toxicity than arsenic and long term impacts were unknown. He said residents also feared their livestock would be condemned if similar antimony levels were detected in them.

Residents have been told to drink only bottled water, reduce dust in their home and minimise their ingestion of soil.

DSDBI has also issued notices to Mandalay Resources to stop using ground-water on the roads for dust suppression, stop misting sprays on the evaporation ponds and review dust and ground-water management plans to minimise the impact on the environment.

Department of Health senior medical advisor Danny Csutoros reassured residents that levels of exposure were well below the safe limit for lifetime exposure set by the World Health Organisation.

“No long or short term health effects are likely as long as these limits are not exceeded over a lifetime," he said.

Mandalay Resources, who has been contacted for comment, has agreed to clean and refill water tanks, clean roofs and guttering and install a first flush diverter at households within three kilometres of the Costerfield Hall.

The report did not make findings on the source of antimony at Costerfield, but noted there were high levels of antimony as a result of historical mining dating back to the 1860s.


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