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Residents fear mining dust

Sunday, 23rd March, 2008

A South resident has claimed CBH Resources' Rasp Mine on the line of lode has the potential to create "another generation of children" with lead-related problems.

Boughtman Street resident Robyn Gould said the public should be worried about the impact the new zinc and lead mine could have on the health of people, particularly young children living close to the lease. Although full-scale mining is not due to start until later this year, Ms Gould said she already had doubts about the company's ability to contain dust, after learning about its plans. She said she was most worried about the company's plans to locate the mine's crusher near the South Road, and the establishment of a residue pond near Eyre Street.

Despite reassurances from the company and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Ms Gould said she wasn't satisfied that dust from both areas would on windy days not be allowed to blow over parts or all of the city. The resident, who has also raised her concerns with City Council, said people were disbelieving when she informed them about the crusher's location and the residue ponds. She has suggested to the company and EPA that the crusher be located at the northern end of the lease, further away from houses, and that residue from the mill be pumped off site. Both suggestions had been dismissed, according to Ms Gould. "I don't want to stop them mining, I want them to do it responsibly," she said. "It's the young parents with children, I just want them to be aware (of the risk). "So let them do it properly so we don't get another generation of children with problems." Ms Gould, who said she was representing a number of concerned parents who lived in Eyre, Piper and Patton Streets, also called for funding of the city's lead-dust remediation programs to be reinstated to previous levels.

Funding for the programs has been cut by 60 per cent in recent years. A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Climate Change yesterday said that an environmental assessment was being carried out in relation to the new mining operation. CBH said it was complying with strict licence conditions and was waiting on the outcome of its environmental licence application to the Department of Primary Industries. The company needed the licence before it can start full-scale production from the mine. "We've got our environmental licence application into the DPI (Department of Primary Industries) and they're reviewing the application at the moment." The spokesman said the public would also get an opportunity to comment on the project when it was placed on public exhibition, expected to be next month.

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