The state’s mining regulator has ordered the owners of Woodvale Evaporation ponds to control potentially toxic dust ahead of the peak summer period.
Earth Resources Regulation issued a notice for Kralcopic Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of GBM Gold, to take further action to control dust at its Woodvale Ponds mine site.
ERR requires the ponds to be covered with water so they do not dry out and produce dust ahead of the peak summer period.
ERR said the controls were necessary to protect public safety and the environment until the site is rehabilitated.
An environmental audit of the Woodvale evaporation ponds in June found the land could be reused for agriculture over time, despite the presence of toxic materials like arsenic.
The audit, completed by an Environmental Protection Authority appointed company, included soil, air and water sampling at the ponds, which were historically used as a site to store water pumped from mine workings.
The regulator said it was also seeking assurances from GBM Gold on its financial situation after it recently failed to secure successive loans from would-be investors and is still placed on a trading halt on the Australian Securities Exchange.
ERR said bonds were in place to cover 100 per cent of the independently-assessed rehabilitation liability for the two Bendigo mine sites.
The current bonds, in the form of bank guarantees, for the Woodvale and Kangaroo Flat sites total $5.9 million.
GBM Gold chief executive officer John Harrison said the company was disappointed with ERR’s decision.
“GBM’s management plan for this summer was communicated to Earth Resources during an onsite meeting at Woodvale. This information was then incorporated into the s110 notice, a totally unjustifiable action,” he said.
“GBM is fully compliant with its obligations, ponds one, two and three are covered in water and 2Ml of water per day is being received from Coliban Water. This renders the premise for the s110 notice to be totally false. GBM has demanded that the notice be withdrawn,” he said
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