Cadia Valley mine investigates health risk from dust

Cadia Valley mine.
Cadia Valley mine.

Newcrest's Cadia Valley mine has completed a study into the potential environmental health impacts of tailings dust, including additional testing and monitoring of the existing air quality monitoring program currently in place at Cadia.

The study also included assessments on dust emitted from Cadia's mine ventilation system, which ventilates Cadia's underground mining operation, and an analysis of water tanks to determine if there was a presence of Tailings Storage Facility dust, according to Newcrest.

The mine has a Northern Tailings Storage Facility and Southern Tailings Storage Facility.

Dust suppressant products are used to prevent dust lift-off "resulting in dust fallout on neighbouring properties".

Through 2020 and early 2021 Cadia engaged a range of specialists to undertake the study.

They included Serinus Health Safety and Environment's Paul Harrison ,who was employed to peer review the work and reports.

Mr Harrison is a specialist occupational health and safety and environmental management consultant with more than 30 years of experience in the field.

At the completion of the study Serinus concluded: "Based on the data and information available from the Tailings Dust Environmental Health Assessment and Air Quality Monitoring Study, and the ambient dust levels measured by the study, there is no current evidence to suggest that dust from the Cadia tailings storage facilities or emissions from the mine ventilation system pose a health risk to the community."

The regular Cadia update on tailings dust stated that improved weather conditions in April "allowed a significant portion of the Southern Tailings Storage Facility to be re-treated with either the hydro-mulch or polymer dust suppressant product".

Cadia received two complaints in April regarding dust lift-off from the Southern Tailings Storage Facility.

They were both made on April 9.

Dust lift-off was identified as coming from a relatively small surface area that was re-treated on the day.

Meanwhile, Cadia said that the Environmental Protection Authority visited the mine on March 30 to inspect the NTSF and STSF and review Cadia's dust management program.

The EPA will write to Cadia with any findings and recommendations.

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