Mine Metals Leak Into Macleay River

Traces of arsenic, copper and zinc have leaked from a mine into a local river near Armidale.

The Office of Environment and Heritage says the metals spilled out of a sediment control erosion dam at Straits Hillgrove Mine into the Macleay River catchment last week.

Kempsey Shire Council’s water manager, Anne Maree Burke, told ABC New England North-West’s Rural Report, it is unlikely any of the 60 properties that pump from the river have used the contaminated water.

“There’s some limits that are set by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and that’s more where council was concerned and we were checking that those limits, once they’d been diluted through that area were not being breached,” she said.

“So for small amounts for short periods it’s not usually a concern but we really needed to know how much of a concern it was.”

The ABC has sought a response from the Straits Hillgrove Mine.

The Office of Environment says the mine is in ‘care and maintenance’ mode and has been asked to introduce measures to ensure the spill does not happen again.

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