- Expected mine life is 16 years.
- Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children.
- Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood.
- Lead in bone is released into blood during pregnancy and becomes a source of exposure to the developing fetus.
- The open cut mine is proposed approximately 2km from Lue Public School and the village of Lue, and within 30km of the township of Mudgee.
- The proposed mine is estimated to create 48 million tonnes of waste rock. 54% of this is potentially acid forming (PAF). PAF rock contains sulfides, which when disturbed can create sulfuric acid.
- Sulfuric acid is toxic to aquatic life, and acid drainage from sulphide bearing rock is recognised as a major source of heavy metal pollution to groundwater and surface water ways. Heavy metals from the orebody below ground released by sulfuric acid will contaminate groundwater (and thus surface water) decades after mining stops if left unmanaged.
- The face height of the waste rock embankment is expected to be between 50m – 90m high, located above the Lawson Creek water table. The Lawson Creek flows into the Cudgegong River at Mudgee. The Cudgegong River flows into Burrendong Dam.
- Processing approximately 2 million tonnes of ore feed per year and running an estimated 7,000 hours. Approximately 300 tonnes per hour of dry feed, while running will require 0.7 megalitres of water/hr.
- Daily plant water requirement is estimated to be approximately 17 megalitres per day.
- Bowdens plan to take some water from bores on site and from the pit.
- All aquifers appear to be connected and this extraction is likely to impact bores within 5 km and baseflow to waterways.
- Any water taken from proposed external sources is expected to not return.
- No water must leave site. Therefore all water used at the mine will be taken from the system. Nil will return.
- The Tailings Storage Facility will have a dam wall approximately 56 metres high and 0.9 km long. At the widest point, the tailings dam will be 1.6km wide. The total footprint area (approximately 140 hectares) WILL impact downstream flows.
- Contents of the dam include:
- Lead ( 16,000 tonnes)
- Zinc (22,900 tonnes)
- Silver (382 tonnes)
- Dam will also contain chemicals and heavy metals used in processing, include cyanide, arsenic, cadmium, copper and xanthates (lethal to aquatic life).
- The tailings dam has no secondary wall in case of leakage or failure. The dam wall is not further than 1km from Lawsons Creek. Failure or leaking of the tailings dam would be catastrophic
- The tailings dam (and contents) will remain in situ forever. They cannot be moved once mining concludes. This will create a dangerous inter-generational legacy for Mudgee and surrounds.
- Proposed to move product by truck. Concentrate to be shipped in 20t containers. LAg estimated a mass split calculation, this would result in 17 outgoing truck loads per week.
- Add contractor and employee movements.
- Traffic, safety and associated noise and dust impacts are a major concern.
TOURISM & AMENITY
- Lue, and the Lue Road, is a key tourist artery connecting Mudgee to Rylstone.
- The Mudgee tourism industry is an established, sustainable and valuable feature of the local and regional economy (visitor economy valued at ~$160 million last year)
- This is an entirely greenfields area, which currently sustains thriving tourism and agricultural enterprise (two of the ‘engine industries’ identified in the NSW Government’s 20 Year Economic Vision for NSW).
- The NSW Government’s 20 Year Economic vision identifies the Central West as a growth centre, and water security as a major priority for the state. The location, water intensity and dangerous chemicals and heavy metals associated with this project are at odds with this vision.
- Mudgee has the balance right at the moment, but this mine, which presents a toxic, intergenerational risk to Mudgee and all downstream residents, does not fit with the broader strategic economic plan for the town or the region, or the state.
*Health impacts of lead – World Health Organisation http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/lead-poisoning-and-health
*All calculations have been made using data presented in Silver Mines Limited Feasibility Study (dated 2 May 2018).