Tag Archive for 'gold mining'

Queensland Floods Heighten Crisis Around Toxic Mine Water

Photo retrieved from: www.abc.net.au

“According to the Resources Council, those releases will probably negate the most recent rainfall, but won’t reduce the legacy water. Going into this summer’s wet season, it was estimated there was the equivalent of half Sydney Harbour’s worth of so-called legacy water, which has accumulated in mine pits, especially in the northern Bowen Basin region, since 2008.

There’s also an uncontrolled release of water from one of the most toxic disused mines in Queensland—Mount Morgan. The former gold mine, 40km south of Rockhampton, is situated on the Dee River. It closed in 1981 and is being managed by the Queensland government. Michael McCabe, the coordinator of the Capricorn Conservation Council says it contains highly acidic water.

‘Well, some have compared the acidity of that water to close to battery acid,’ Mr McCabe said.

About 700 mm of rain has fallen over the Mount Morgan mine site since last Wednesday. As a result, the water level in the mine’s open cut pit has been overflowing since Saturday morning, at a rate of about 60 megalitres a day. The state government says strong natural flows in the Dee River have achieved significant dilution of untreated water entering the river, minimising potential downstream impacts.”

Read more: ABC Radio National


Troubled Waters: How Mine Waste Dumping Is Polluting Our Oceans, Rivers, And Lakes

Retrieved from: www.nodirtygold.org

“These mine wastes, or tailings, can contain up to three dozen dangerous chemicals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cyanide.

Each year, mining companies dump over 180 million tonnes of these hazardous mine wastes into rivers, oceans, and lakes – that’s more than 1.5 times the amount of waste that US cities send to landfills each year.

The Troubled Waters report examines the impacts of ten corporations’ waste dumping practices in water bodies in 11 regions around the world, including those in Papua New Guinea, Turkey, Canada, Indonesia, United States, and Norway.

The report calls on mining companies to stop using our oceans, rivers, and lakes as dumping grounds for their toxic wastes. The report recommends additional steps that must be taken by mining companies to protect people and ecosystems from irresponsible aquatic waste disposal, including dry stacking and backfill, where safe, and adopting measures to produce less waste.”

Read more: no dirty gold


Tibetan Village Stops Mining Project Near the Nu River

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

A Nu Challenge Looms for Ethnic Groups

After the villagers of Abin successfully canceled the mining project near the Nu River in January, they claimed the mountain itself had played a role. In these remote regions of western China, where many non-Han ethnicities reside, traditional views and nature worship can still be found. But while Abin was successful, development projects continue to be a looming threat to the traditional livelihoods of thousands of ethnic villagers living along the Nu River valley.

In particular, the 13-dam cascade first proposed in 2004 has returned to haunt the landscape, as seen through the roadwork, tunnels, and make-shift workers huts and equipment springing up along the Nu River. The watershed is home to thirteen different ethnic groups, most of whom are subsistence farmers. As many as 50,000 largely Lisu, Tibetan and Nu villagers would lose their farmland and be forced to move to prefabricated houses in new towns and look for work. Moreover, China has been reluctant to accord its ethnic minority nationalities “indigenous” status under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which recognizes the rights of indigenous people to prior consultation and consent. The dams would even wipe out portions of the pilgrimage route around Mount Kawagebo – a serious blow to the Tibetans both in and outside the area. As one ethnic Tibetan told the New York Times in 2007:”

“If people are forced to move because of the project, they are going to lose the way of life that makes them special. It’s inevitable that people will lose their traditions if they move away.”

Read more: International Rivers


Chinese Takeaway Kitchen

Photo retrieved from: www.economist.com

“WAIST-DEEP in the muddy water, hundreds of people swirl their pans, scouring the black sediment for the sparkle of gold dust. They have come from all over Myanmar to Kachin state, where the N’Mai and Mali rivers merge to form the mighty Irrawaddy, knowing that a good day may yield $1,000-worth of gold—and that time for gold-panning is running out.

Across the river, the corrugated-iron roofs of a prefabricated barracks glint in the midday sun. They house hundreds of Chinese labourers working on the Myitsone hydropower project. This, according to Myanmar’s government, will be the sixth highest dam in the world, and generate 6,000MW of electricity a year. On completion in 2019, the dam will flood the gold-prospecting area and displace more than 10,000 people. All the electricity will be exported to China. All the revenue will go to Myanmar’s government. If an environmental and social impact study was conducted at all, it did not involve consulting the affected villagers.

A local Catholic priest who led prayers against the dam says his parishioners were moved to a “model” village, into tiny houses on plots too small for cultivation. The letters of concern he sent to Myanmar’s leaders went unanswered. He says he will stay in his historic church “till the waters rise over the doorstep”.”

Read more: The Economist