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Published: 2010-10-22 00:00:00

Drivers and cyclists are advised to steer clear of the Tui Road from next Tuesday (26 October) to avoid heavy traffic associated with the start of work to clean up the contaminated Tui Mine on Mount Te Aroha.

Project manager Ghassan Basheer said the public should expect increased volumes of heavy vehicles on Tui Road for approximately the next six months.

“The council is advising drivers and cyclists to avoid using Tui Road past the residential area where possible,” he said.

“The Tui Mine Track from Tui Road to the Tui saddle will be closed until construction is completed in early May, but all other walking tracks joining on to the mountain road will remain open, with caution signs in place to advise walkers of the work taking place.

“The work site at the mine will be fenced off but walkers need to be aware there will be increased heavy vehicle traffic and should keep well clear of the road at all times.”

Mr Basheer said the community could expect minor discolouration of the water in the Tunakohia Stream during the first two weeks of work while the sediment control ponds were being constructed.

“The discolouration might occur occasionally over a five day period and will have no lasting effect on the health of the stream,” he said.

Access restrictions will stay in place until the first phase of remediation work is substantially completed in late April/early May 2011. Injections of lime slurry into the ground will continue for at least three months after that.

The first phase of the planned works, on land owned by the Department of Conservation and Matamata-Piako District Council, will reduce the volume of heavy metal-contaminated water and acid rock drainage (ARD) flowing from the old mine workings into the Tunakohia Stream.

Mr Basheer said the work included plugging the lower mine shaft with a concrete bulkhead, building water control structures in the upper levels and injecting lime slurry to reduce the volume of groundwater discharging from the mine and neutralise the acidity of discharges. 

Local iwi blessed the project to clean up the site on Monday (18 October) ahead of the work starting.

· NOTE: People wanting more information about the walking tracks near the construction site should contact the Department of Conservation on (07) 578 7677.