Clean up and close Glencore's McArthur River Mine
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Glencore's open pit lead and zinc mine in the bed of the McArthur River is 50km south of the town of Borroloola. The river, controversially diverted around the expanding mine pit, is the lifeblood of the Gulf of Carpenteria. Residents, tourists and recreational fishers eat the river's abundant fish, and local pastoral stations and communities rely on its freshwater.
Last year the mine's waste rock dump caught fire due to reactive chemistry. The mine's Independent Monitor warned, if not fixed, major acid metalliferous drainage problems would leach sulphuric acid into surrounding waterways.
The mine's leaking tailings dam was found to be at risk of collapse and in 2014 high levels of lead were found in local fish stocks and 400 cattle had to be destroyed after drinking from a poisoned creek near the mine site.
Glencore is in breach of its operating conditions, continuing to discharge contaminated water in the McArthur River at double allowable limits. In response to revelations of major risks posed by its unlawful mining activities, Glencore has refused to pay an increased rehabilitation bond to ensure site clean up.
Freedom of Information requests by the McArthur River's Aboriginal Traditional Owners have revealed internal NT Government memos contained warnings that Glencore's actions would have 'catastrophic consequences' for downstream environment and communities. These warnings have been ignored by the NT Government.
McArthur River Traditional Owners are calling on the NT Government to act immediately to protect the river and local communities from Glencore's reckless actions:
- -Prosecute operational breaches
- -Stop production at McArthur River mine until contamination problems are solved and insist on mine rehabilitation and environmental clean up
- -Cancel open pit expansion plans and backfill reactive waste rock
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