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25/02 - Majors Creek sediment basin fails after heavy rain


Sediment flows into Spring Creek, which flows into Majors Creek.

Majors Creek and Araluen residents are furious a sediment basin below a gold mine under construction has failed after a few days of rain.

Earth work began on the underground mine east of Braidwood about a week ago and according to local residents there’s been a major spillage into Majors Creek.

A district resident said locals were furious problems had arisen so early into the construction of the major underground mine.

The former Perth-based Cortona Resources has been proposing the mine for several years, before merging with Unity Mining to create a $90 million company to kick off the project, which has an initial six-year timeframe.

A spokesman for Unity, Ian Howarth, said more than 36mm of rain over 24 hours caused ‘‘some issues’’.

He says work stopped on Thursday because the operators were aware of rain on the way and the area in question received the monthly average for February in 24 hours.

But residents say the sediment basin was meant to cope with a one-in-100 year flood.

Mr Howarth said the basin was designed and built in accordance with all planning approvals that were in place.

He said earthworks levelled off sites in preparation for building and a new access road.

The overflow spilled into Spring Creek, which flows into Majors Creek.

‘‘It’s just the volume of rain has created circumstances where these facilities ... where water has just come over the top," he said.

‘‘They are working now to beef up some of those facilities beyond what was designed.’’

Although not a requirement, the spillage had been reported to the Environmental Protection Authority.

Mr Howarth said gypsum was being added to the water in a catchment pond to settle sediment and the wall’s height would be increased.

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