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Tui Mine clean-up crew at Domain Day

Visitors to Te Aroha’s Domain Day will have the chance to peer into the depths of the Tui Mine, New Zealand’s most contaminated site, without even getting their feet dirty.

Members of the Tui Mine clean-up project team will be at Domain Day on Sunday, 20 March to talk to the community about remediation work being undertaken at the mine site.

Photos taken inside the mine will be on display, and people will be able to check out the wildlife that could make a home in nearby streams after the clean up, as well as find out about future clean-up work at the mine.

Tui Mine opened in 1967 to extract metals including zinc, lead and copper. The mine prospered until unacceptable levels of mercury were found in the ore, with the site eventually being abandoned in 1975.

Left behind were waste rock and ore dumps, tailings and the ruins of the mine workings, which have since continued to leach contaminants into the Tui and Tunakohoia streams. These streams flow into the Waihou River and downstream into the Firth of Thames.

In addition to the environmental damage, there is a risk the tailings mass will liquefy in an earthquake or extreme weather event and flow down the mountain.

Environment Waikato’s Tui Mine remediation project manager Ghassan Basheer said the display would give people the chance to see the effects the mine is having on the environment and what is being done to reduce these.

“We will show visitors to our site what we are doing to reduce the present risks to community safety and health and the environment.

“The project will lead to major water and soil quality improvements in the area over time so the area can be used for public recreation in the future,” Mr Basheer said.

 The Tui Mine Remediation Project was established in 2007 following Government allocation of initial funds to investigate and commence clean up of the contaminated site.

 To find out more about Tui Mine remediation work visit www.ew.govt.nz/tui-mine(external link).

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