A major milestone in the remediation of one of New Zealand’s most contaminated sites has been reached today with the public notification of applications for consent to clean up the Tui Mine site near Te Aroha.
The resource consent applications, lodged with Environment Waikato and Matamata-Piako District Council on behalf of the Department of Conservation, follow years of planning, trials to identify the best remediation options, and ongoing discussions with the community.
The applications seek consent to carry out remediation works aimed at improving:
· the Tunakohoia Stream which is contaminated by heavy metals leaching from the old mine workings and the tailings dam
· the Tui Stream which is also affected by heavy metals from the tailings dam
· the stability and safety of the abandoned tailings dam, which is at risk of collapse in a moderate seismic event or extreme weather, putting the downstream community at risk and requiring an even more costly clean-up.
Further information about the consents that have been lodged is available online at www.ew.govt.nz/Projects/Tui-mine/(external link).
The applications envisage a two-phase clean up.
The first phase would be to prepare the site and remediate the underground parts of the mine. The $4.5 million cost of this is funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund.
The second phase involves remediating the tailings dam area and making the former ore processing area safe for public access and funding is being sought for this.
There are many ideas for future uses of the site. Details about uses for the site, public access and ongoing management of any recreational facilities will be developed by the Department of Conservation, Matamata-Piako District Council, local landowners and iwi.
People are able to sign up to our e-newsletter about the project by visiting www.ew.govt.nz/Tui-mine(external link) and following the information about how to subscribe.
Those who would like to be kept up to date with the project but do not have internet access, can contact Ally Armstrong from EW on freephone 0800 800 401.