Date: 10 July 2013 Source: Joint release from the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation
Environment Minister Amy Adams and Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today confirmed the Government’s commitment to clean-up an old gold mining site polluted with arsenic at Waiuta on the West Coast.
“Testing at this old mine site in the Victoria Forest Park has identified very high levels of arsenic in the soil and water that poses a risk to people and the environment. The site has been fully fenced but we need to get on and clean-up the contamination to protect the wider environment,” Dr Smith says.
The Prohibition Mine site was contaminated through the processing of ore for gold when the mill was operating between 1938 and 1951. The contaminated site covers a small area of half a hectare and was inherited by the Department of Conservation when it was formed in 1987.
“Cleaning up contaminated sites is a priority for the Government and we have already commited $28 million towards this work over the past four years.
“Clean-ups have been completed on the old pesticide plant at Mapua and more recently on the Tui Mine site at Te Aroha in the Waikato. This Prohibition Mine site is now our top priority for clean-up,” Ms Adams says.
The clean-up plan being developed by DOC is likely to involve cleaning the condensing tower, removing arsenic contaminated soil, securing it in sealed barrels in a water-tight pit and capping of the surface around the pit and tower. The remediation will also involve a water treatment plant.
The estimated cost of the clean-up is about $600,000. It is intended that half will be funded through the Environment Ministry’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund and half from DOC.
The clean-up is expected to get underway later this year.
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