Disasters highlight mining eco-challenges

Industrial Hand Cleaner, Mineral Deposit RemoverExtreme weather has forced one Northern Territory gold mine operator to flush acidic water from a holding pond into a nearby river. It’s just one example of the difficulties facing the mining sector when it comes to eco- management, which can be improved through the use of environmentally friendly liquids.

From floods to train derailments, the potential for environmental fallouts from mining has been highlighted in the Top End recently.

Heavy flooding in the Katherine region forced mining company Vista Gold to release acidic water from a retention pond at its Mount Todd gold mine in late December.

The Northern Territory Department of Resources has been monitoring the overflow into Edith River, which a Vista Gold spokesperson said was an appropriate measure in light of heavy rains from ex-Tropical Cyclone Grant.

The company said the flush was in line with government licensing requirements. Wastewater management is critical for the gold mining industry’s credentials as environmentally-friendly. Liquid waste from mining processes (known as tailings) poses one of the greatest eco-friendly challenges for the sector. Tailings can leach acid into soils and waterways.

The use of environmental cleaning products low in phosphates and toxic chemicals further reduces the risk of contamination and improves worker safety.

Dust mitigation is another critical issue which can be tackled through filters and spraying eco-friendly industry liquid dust suppressors.

Train derailment

A train derailment along the Adelaide-to-Darwin line prompted more environmental concerns for the Edith River in the same week as the Mount Todd retention pond flush.

As much as 1200 tonnes of copper concentrate was reported to have spilled into the Edith River after a derailment which resulted in an investigation by authorities.

The mining industry has taken environmental management more seriously in recent decades and measures such as dust and waste water management has become a growing concern.

Switching to eco-friendly liquid products has improved environmental accountability and reduced workplace health and safety hazards.

Perth-based eco-friendly industrial liquids supplier Envirosafe Solutions has been leading the challenge to reduce reliance on toxic chemicals.

Its Extreme Green range has been developed with the mining industry in mind and includes dust suppressors, workshop products such as rust removers and coolants and laundry and kitchen cleaners.

Floods and rail disasters highlight the risks inherent in mining processes and products. Switching to eco-friendly industrial liquids is one step toward more eco-friendly practices. For more information contact Envirosafe Solutions’ on 1300 88 90 70 or email info@evss.com.au.