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.