To: The Honourable Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
Far North QLD Community against Proposed Mining Lease
We urge you to:
1. Call on Baal Gammon Copper Pty Ltd. and its parent company Monto Minerals Ltd. to comply with Queensland Law, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection orders and the conditions of their mining authority and protect an important source of drinking water for local residents from further contamination by ensuring that all efforts are made by the companies to prevent any further contamination from the mine site.
2. Make an example of this company, and prosecute them for releasing highly toxic contaminants into Jamie Creek, and then for their slow response to both report the issue and take action to contain the spill and prevent it from entering Jamie Creek once they became aware that it was occurring.
Why is this important?
Baal Gammon Pty Ltd and Monto Minerals Ltd. are responsible for contaminating the drinking water of local residents at Watsonville with Arsenic, Cadmium, Copper, Manganese, Nickel and Lead in concentrations which exceed Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
What has happened…....
Although the Creek already contained high levels of some contaminants as a result of historical mining activities – this spill increased the concentration and type of contaminants released into Jamie Creek.
Exposure to Arsenic increases prevalence in skin lesions even at exposure levels in the range of 0.005–0.01 mg/l. Water samples from Jamie Creek have been recorded at twice that level in February and March 2012 after the spill, and still well above this level (0.015 mg/l) into May 2012 – 3 months later.
Chronic effects of arsenic exposure via drinking water include skin lesions, neurological effects, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes mellitus, and malignancies including skin cancer.
Based on health considerations, the concentration of cadmium in drinking water should not exceed 0.002 mg/L. On the 7 March 2012 levels were found to be 0.0922 mg/L in Jamie Creek below the mine site - 46 times higher than the acceptable limits, yet residents were not informed that their water was unsafe to drink until 16 March 2012.
In humans, long-term or high dose exposure to cadmium can cause serious kidney dysfunction. Other effects can include softening of the bones. According to current knowledge, renal tubular damage is probably the critical health effect of cadmium exposure - and WHO research indicates it is also a human carcinogen.
Baal Gammon Copper Pty Ltd told local residents that it would clean up the area when they applied for their permit, and lower the soil contamination associated with historical mining on the mining lease.... Nothing has been done.....
Baal Gammon Copper Pty Ltd has submitted an application to develop another mining lease adjacent to the current mine.
(Chronic health effects in people exposed to arsenic via the drinking water: dose–response relationships in review. Takahiko Yoshida, Hiroshi Yamauchi, Gui Fan Sun. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Volume 198, Issue 3, 1 August 2004, Pages 243–252 available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041008X04000948
NRMMC (2011) Australian Drinking Water Guidelines Paper 6 National Water Quality Management Strategy. National Health and Medical Research Council, National Resource Management Ministerial Council, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.)
Is this the standard of mining operations that Queenslanders are supposed to expect from mining companies?