The proposed Bowdens Silver Project at Lue will impact 436 ha on site. In addition, there is a proposed 60 km long pipeline between the mine site and Ulan Mine to the north to access water. The project will take excess water from the Ulan Mine.
The question is, where has this water come from? The Ulan Mine intercepts base flows to the Goulburn River. This water must be returned to the Goulburn River under environmental flow releases. It is inappropriate and illogical to transfer water out of the Goulburn/Hunter catchment to the Macquarie River catchment. The Federal government has expressed concerns in regard to ‘cumulative risks of potential hydrological change in the Hunter subregion’ which includes the Ulan Mine site (Commonwealth Bioregional Assessment for the Northern Sydney Basin-Hunter Subregion May 2018). We cannot risk further loss to flows in the Goulburn River. This further threat to The Drip is untenable!
What will happen to the water at the Lue site? Ore processing at Lue is estimated to require approximately 17 megalitres per day. Bowdens plan to take some water from bores on site and from the pit, which will in turn impact bores within 5km and baseflows to waterways. Any water taken from proposed external sources is expected to not return. No water must leave site. Nil will return.
That means that all water must be stored on site in a tailings dam forever! The dam and its contents cannot be moved when mining concludes.
Contents of the dam include: Lead ( 16,000 tonnes), Zinc (22,900 tonnes), Silver (382 tonnes). The dam will also contain chemicals and heavy metals used in processing, include cyanide, arsenic, cadmium, copper and xanthates (lethal to aquatic life). The tailings dam has no secondary wall in case of leakage or failure. The dam wall is not further than 1km from Lawsons Creek. Failure or leaking of the tailings dam would be catastrophic.
Source: Lue Action Group http://www.lueactiongroup.org/ Find out more and sign up for the newsletter. Check the interactive Threat Map.
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