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Ministry fears mine could contaminate water

Concerns about the potential for contamination of a Southland school’s water supply were raised in the sole submission for a gold mine clearance application.

Bromoore Gold Ltd filed an application with the Southland District Council when it sought to renew consent for gold mining near Waikaia.

Applications close at the end of August.

Although the Department of Education took a neutral stance in its submission, it requested more information from the company on the potential effects of the contamination and drawdown on the school’s drinking water supply. Waikaia.

Assistant Secretary of Education Infrastructure Services Kim Shannon explained that his only concern was to ensure that there were no negative impacts on the operation’s water supply.

“The planners are working on our behalf with the applicant to resolve the issues raised in our submission. This is an ongoing process and we expect it to take several weeks.”

The school is less than 2 km from the proposed mine.

The submission, received after a request from the OIA, indicated that the ministry was seeking to ensure that any potential impact on schools resulting from this request for resource consent was considered.

He noted that there were also other nearby wells used for domestic supply and a borehole used for water quality monitoring, and asked the applicant to list all wells and establish a benchmark for water levels and water quality prior to commencing operations if consent was granted. .

“The applicant should establish a groundwater monitoring program to monitor potential changes in water level and water quality at these boreholes.

Heavy metals he was concerned about included arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, zinc, iron, mercury and manganese.

He goes on to explain that gold deposits in southern Otago can contain high concentrations of heavy metals that can be mobilized by acid mine drainage (AMD) when stocks are exposed to rain.

Consequently, the ministry feared that there was a potential of contamination of surface and ground water of the site of the gold mine given the proximity of this one to the drilling of the school.

“Additional information regarding the potential effects of heavy metal contamination from AMD is requested to enable the ministry to make an informed decision. . . If a potential for AMD is identified, the applicant could propose mitigation measures to prevent contamination of ground and surface water. “

In addition to this, he asked the applicant to liaise with the school and the ministry.

Next steps will include a possible pre-hearing meeting, preparing a section 42A report, holding a hearing and issuing a decision.

The decision would have the right to appeal.

The director of Bromoore Gold Ltd could not be reached.

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