13 Nov 2014

Solomons gold miner says arsenic levels safe

7:37 pm on 13 November 2014

The owner of a shut down gold mine in Solomon Islands says arsenic levels in its tailings dam at Gold Ridge are well below relevant standards in Australia and New Zealand.

There have been concerns about the tailings dam since a storm shut the mine in April and fears of the impact of the coming wet season.

The Solomon Islands government says there is some worry about high arsenic levels and the threat posed by any uncontrolled run off if the dam floods.

But the principal of Melbourne based St Barbara, which owns Gold Ridge, Bob Vassie, says while the water is not safe for drinking it is well below that required for safe farm irrigation, liverstock drinking, aquaculture and so on in New Zealand and Australia.

But he says any release into the river must be controlled.

"You could breed fish in this water, for aquaculture, so to release it into the local river is, in our view, absolutely fine and also avoids the consequence of the dam overtopping in the next rainy season which is upon us now."

Bob Vassie.

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