Thursday, 30 June 2011

No problems with any new Wild Cattle Creek tailing dams for antimony mining by-products arsenic and mercury, according to the China Shandong Jinshunda Group

One has to admire the chutzpah of mining corporation China Shandong Jinshunda Group Co Ltd as reported in The Clarence Valley Review on 29 June 2011:

First its spokesperson attempts to distance the mine from those North Coast local government areas in which residents are expressing concern, about the potential for negative environmental and public health impacts from mining for antimony and gold in a high rainfall, elevated and environmentally sensitive area within the Clarence and Nymboida river catchments, by calling it the “Dorrigo” mine.

Then the same spokesperson talks up modern tailing dams despite problems with these dams being experienced both in Australia and overseas and, finally he neglects to point out that the NSW Government allows mine owners to self-assess risk in relation to the design, construction and ongoing maintenance of the same tailing dams.

The primary goal of the DSC, relevant to this Guidance Sheet, is that all prescribed NSW tailings dam owners apply appropriate dam safety management practices to their dams using a risk management approach in line with a whole of Government approach to public safety.
Another goal is that risks to community interests from the potential for dam failure are tolerable, the owner’s determination in this regard being satisfactory to the DSC.
This requires that the risks are detected, identified and assessed, that they are reduced, when necessary, as soon as reasonably practicable and in a way that best  serves community interests, and that they are kept under review throughout the life cycle of the dams.
It is for each dam owner to determine how these goals, including DSC requirements, (see Section 2.2) will be achieved and to demonstrate that the goal has been achieved, or will be achieved following safety improvements. The following sections of this sheet aim to provide guidance to assist dam owners in the achievement of the DSC goals. [NSW Dam Safety Committee, June 2010, “Tailing Dams”,pp2-3]

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