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Wasterwater trucking from mine stops

Wastewater trucking from Mandalay Resources Costerfield mine to the main pit in Hirds Lane, Heathcote, has stopped.

BARBARA SUNGAILA September 4, 2014 3:23am

Trucking of wastewater from Mandalay Resources Costerfield mine to the Heathcote main pit in Hirds Lane has stopped.

Heavy traffic on the Heathcote-Nagambie Rd has now been reduced.

The mine has been given permission by the Environment Protection Authority to discharge treated wastewater from its reverse osmosis plants into local waterways.

A small-scale temporary osmosis plant with a 0.5 megalitre capacity has been in long-term operation at the mine, but a larger 2Ml plant is now operational.

Mandalay Resources general manager Andre Booyzen said the mine would be allowed to pump 2Ml of treated water a day into the Wappentake Creek for 120 days.

‘‘After an initial four months of operation the EPA will assess the monitoring data collected at the discharge and in Mountain Creek South, to establish criteria for an ongoing discharge licence,’’ he said.

EPA strategic relations acting director Tony Robinson said the authority would do some audit checking of data collected by the mine and possibly some additional monitoring.

‘‘We’re also balancing out the results with what we were expecting to see,’’ he said.

‘‘The information will be available to the community via the mine’s environmental review committee and the EPA.’’

Mr Robinson said mine wastewater would be treated by a combination of the treatment plant and the new Splitters Creek evaporation facility.

‘‘Reverse osmosis also produces a brine solution, so a third of the water from the plant needs to go out to evaporation,’’ he said.

‘‘There will need to be evaporation even if there’s year-round discharge (into the creeks).

‘‘The EPA does not expect any further discharges to the pit.

‘‘The current 120-day approval is to pilot the wastewater treatment.’’

Mr Booyzen said the mine was only able to discharge treated water into the creek for six months of the year.

‘‘We are hoping to get approval to run the reverse osmosis plant for 12 months of the year,’’ he said.

‘‘The mine is also exploring ways in which the local community might utilise some of the treated water.’’

The Splitters Creek evaporation facility was the subject of a long battle between residents and the mine, which culminated in VCAT approval in late June.

Costerfield farmer Pam King, who led the residents’ application to have City of Greater Bendigo’s decision to approve the facility overturned, described the case as ‘‘a David and Goliath fight’’.

The VCAT determination led to several extra conditions being attached to the ponds’ construction and operation.

Dust from the mine’s crushing plant has also been the subject of recent community concern and the Victorian Government was monitoring environmental conditions in the Costerfield area after antimony was found in some rainwater tanks.

Gold and antimony are mined at Costerfield.

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