Heavy rain has caused the Dee River to flood close to Mount Morgan’s former mine site.
Heavy rain has caused the Dee River to flood close to Mount Morgan’s former mine site. Photo supplied

Scientists allay Dee poison fears

FEARS that the region’s drinking water could be contaminated by poisons washed downstream from Mount Morgan were allayed yesterday.

As these pictures show the River Dee, widely believed to be the most polluted in Australia, is in spectacular flood a matter of metres from the pit at the old gold mine which contains a deadly cocktail of chemicals and heavy metals.

Scientists monitoring the river in Mount Morgan, and at various points downstream, say no poisonous material from the pit has escaped into the river, which eventually runs into the Fitzroy.

“Despite heavy rainfall in the catchments surrounding the mine site in recent days, the monitoring stations have not recorded any significant increase in acidity of water flows into the Dee River,” said a spokesman for the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation which manages an on-going $11 million mine rehabilitation project.

The department also operates a $3.4 million lime dosing plant to treat the heavily contaminated water in the open-cut pit before it is released into the river.

There are two automatic monitoring stations downstream to act as early alert systems if acid leeches from the pit into the river.

Although the pit has never overflowed, there have been fears that such an event would be an environmental disaster with the power to destroy the Fitzroy’s eco-system and Rockhampton’s water supply.

Councillors will be briefed next month on the potential risks to local rivers and the Great Barrier Reef from the so-called acid dam.

Campaigner and Dululu farmer Denis George, whose lucerne fields are on the banks of the Dee, said yesterday he was delighted with the flows.

Mr George and the Wowan Dululu Land care Group was leading a campaign for federal funding for the rehabilitation of the entire Mount Morgan mine site.

He said yesterday there had been an acid flow into the system two weeks ago but the current rains had been excellent.



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