CBH to the rescue
Saturday, 3rd September, 2011
By Craig Brealey
The CBH mining company is working to stop contaminated water running from a dam and on to public land even though it is not obliged to do so.
The old dam is not on the mine’s lease but CBH would do the work because it was in the best position to fix the problem, said its Chief Operating Officer, Visko Sulicich, yesterday.
“Our primary aim is to understand what is happening here and how to address it,” Mr Sulicich said.
The dam is actually on land owned by Western Lands and was built a long time before CBH took up the lease.
It was probably put there by Normandy in the 1990s to catch the run-off from the mines when it rained, Mr Sulicich said .
“But we agreed because we are in the best position to deal with it,” he said.
There was a low water table in the whole area including under the old dam and adjacent to it, he said.
“Higher than average rainfall in the last 12 months has saturated the ground in the area.
“This area and the small dam are not located on CBH’s mining lease.”
Mr Sulicich said the leak had nothing to do with CBH’s work on the lease to get it ready for production.
“No activities since CBH took over the lease in 2001 or the recent build-up of mine activities on the lease have in any way contributed to release of water out of this small dam or any elevated levels of metals found in the water from the area,” he said.
CBH had been working closely with the Office of Environment and Heritage (formerly the EPA) and had helped by pumping water from the area to a dam on CBH’s mine lease, Mr Sulicich said.
This was lowering the water level in the off-lease dam where recent higher than average rainfall had caused the ground to become saturated, he said.
Mr Sulicich said CBH would continue working with the OEH on this issue and had engaged Golder Associates, a company that specialises in water systems and movement, to undertake an investigation to find the source of water and to make recommendations to address the problem.
This involves drilling bore holes and analysing the soil and is scheduled for completion by mid November, Mr Sulicich said.
“CBH is committed to protecting the environment and has taken this issue seriously,” he said.
“It has consulted with all relevant government agencies and has agreed on a scope of work and plan with these agencies and until this plan is completed CBH will continue to assist by maintaining to pump water from the off lease dam.”