No mending at mine meeting

No mending at mine meeting

The controversy surrounding the Fingerboards Mineral Sands mine at Glenaladale continued at Kalbar Resources’ information night on Wednesday at the Lindenow Hall.

A large crowd attended the session with Carolyn Balint, of Coffey, a specialist in geotechnical and environmental project management services, and Dr Rob Loch, of Landloch, a group of soil and environmental scientists and engineeers, addressing the crowd about four key assessments; groundwater and surface water baseline and impact, rehabilitation, human health risk and socioeconomic impact.

The latter topic wasn’t discussed due to the session running late into the night as many members of the community voiced their concerns about the proposed mine.

In what could have been seen as an opportunity for Kalbar Resources and the community to bridge a gap in the relationship was quickly dismissed with the anti-mining people interrupting presentations. Kalbar’s information evening which was to include a question and answer quickly session, turned into a back and fourth debate with community members disagreeing with the facts and findings being presented.

Kalbar Resources chief executive officer, Dr Victor Hugo, started the night with a brief update on the EES process.

“We are hoping to finalise all the EES in the first weeks of June,” he said.

“We are nearing the end of the actual EES preparation.”

Speaking about groundwater and surface water baseline and impact, Ms Balint addressed key aspects related to water, purpose of the studies, methodology, key findings, mitigation and management measures, potential impacts and the next steps moving forward.

Among the key findings in the tailings water quality assessment (EGi), which was the geochemical analysis of potential seepage water through tailings, overburden and ore, all extract waters were close to ph neutral (not acidic, nor alkaline), overall the leachable element concentrations were low, not in exceedance of Australian Drinking Water Guideline criteria (ADWG, 2018), aluminium and copper exceeded freshwater aquatic ecosystem criteria (ANZECC, 2000) and low sulfur content meaning low acid sulfate soil risk.

“For surface water findings there is a reduced flood down stream risk due to operations of the water management that is occurring on site,” Carolyn said.

“For mine contact water, aluminium and total suspended solids and phosphorus concentrations are elevated and are above eco system criteria, but below the trigger values for agricultural irrigation and livestock.”

“For groundwater, all residual risks are very low to low while for surface water there is a very low to low residual risk to the Mitchell River and Gippsland Lakes.”

Dr Loch spoke about rehabilitation of the land including scoping requirements; characteristics of the existing environment, design and mitigation measures, assessment of likely effects and performance management.

He also addressed the existing vegetation, its functionality and the strategy that will be used to achieve landform zone goals.

Soil limitations and managements were also addressed while profile reconstruction testing and drought tolerance testing were high in discussion.

Erosion control planning and revegetation works were quickly addressed but it was a detailed diagram of the mine site premining and post-mining that sparked conversation.

A major issue the community had was a gully located in the west corner of the mine site.

“You have this area of roughly 450 acres that will be transformed from a steep gully into an almost flat piece of land, that is a massive change of landform,” a community member said.

“When you open up a hole you’ve got to put the dirt somewhere,” a Kalbar Resources spokesperson said.

“There’s an option to put a big stock pile somewhere and it’s going to create a visual impact.

“One alternative we present here is an opportunity to fill the Perry Gully and as a result there is a less overall impact.

“The point is, yes, there is an impact there on the site but the remainder of the site other than where we are going to close it, it’s pretty much the same everywhere.”

PICTURED: Kalbar Resources held an information evening on the Fingerboards Mineral Sands mine at the Lindenow Hall on Wednesday night.