EPA highly critical of Xstrata’s monitoring

Heavy metal pollution in the McArthur River.

Xstrata representative Brian Hearne recently stated “But we do know categorically there is no evidence of heavy metal pollution by the mine.” In doing so he failed to mention a few salient points about the adequacy of their testing regime.

The quotes below are from the NT Government’s EPA assessment.

“…it is the the EPA’s conclusion that water quality sampling from only 2 data points is insufficient to fully access the mines contribution to a decline in water quality in the catchment, and any risks of toxicity in the aquatic water system.” (EPA Report 51 p, 23.)

EPA concludes the lack of sediment data prevents a complete assessment of the environmental risks of the proposal.” (EPA Report 51 p, 24.)

There are elevated levels of heavy metals downstream of the mine. If there was adequate sediment data and sufficient water quality sampling, then there would be more evidence of heavy metal pollution.

Unfortunately we have to rely on Xstrata and their friends in the NT Government for this information. Since neither of them released details on the flesh-eating bacteria, despite the health risks, it would be naive to expect them to act in the public interest this time.

2 responses to “EPA highly critical of Xstrata’s monitoring

  1. What would it cost to have independent sampling done?
    Is there any way a community, or other interested group can take samples? Surely if independent samples where taken at appropriate locations there would be no more speculation and the government would have to concede that their futile efforts have contributed to the degradation of the river.

  2. Hello David

    You could commission work such as a University scientist or CSIRO but as you can expect nothing is cheap: flights, travel, sampling etc. I am not putting you off but being realistic about costings.

    I’d be happy to look at it but you need to try and figure out funding for the research. It’s the sort of work I have done before and it’s not technically a diffciult to do.


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