I happened to be at Council recently and noticed the Zirconium mine proposal on public display for comment. Curiosity got the better of me so I picked up the 3cm thick document and had a skim read. Up to this point I assumed that if a mine was being built in today's climate the mine would need to be relatively 'clean'. Well this is far from the case and people in Dubbo would do well to educate themselves on the EIS and make a submission, which closes at the end of October!
- The mine will release up to 700,000 tonnes of slightly radioactive dust into the air each year.
- The mine will produce up to 100kg/hour of Sulphur dioxide, 100kg/hour of nitrous Oxide (NO2), 23kg/hour of SO3, 29kg/hour of Hydrochloric Acid plus other toxic gasses, all directly into the air!
- The mine will leave behind 6.7 million tonnes of toxic salt after it closes. 44 Truckloads of salt will be delivered to the mine each week. This salt will be used and afterwards the used salt will be slightly radioactive (classified as restricted solid waste). The mine operators have decided it it too expensive to dispose of this toxic salt (it will cost $33 million per year) so they are going to leave it behind! The proposal is to bury 6.7 million tonnes of toxic salt in plastic and leave it there, hoping it won't leak into the groundwater.
I encourage you to read the Environmental Impact Statement and if you have any concerns make a submission online.
It can be as simple as one line saying you support the mine but want fewer emissions and less dust, or that you don't support the mine because of the dust and pollution.
Also, here is a very recent and timely paper on the bad health effects of dust and pollutants from mining.
Also here is my submission.