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Published: 2009-11-24 00:00:00

The clean up of one of New Zealand’s most contaminated sites, the Tui Mine at Te Aroha, is about to get underway. 

Tui Mine opened in 1967 to extract metals including copper, lead and zinc, but unacceptable levels of mercury in the ore led to the site being abandoned in 1975. Left behind were the mine workings and tailings that discharge contaminated water into the Tui and Tunakohia streams. The clean up also includes stabilising the tailings, which have been dammed but are at risk of collapse in extreme weather or moderate seismic activity.      

The public is invited to an information session ahead of the first phase of the clean up, expected to start this summer. The information day is being held on Thursday, 26 November at the Matamata-Piako District Council offices, Kenrick St, Te Aroha, from 3- 6pm.

“This is an opportunity for people who are interested in the future of the site to find out more and discuss the details of the plans with the technical experts,” said Environment Waikato project manager Ghassan Basheer. 

“Once the site has been stabilised, future options include public education and a range of recreational activities.”

The clean up is a joint effort between the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), the landowners (Matamata-Piako District Council [MPDC] and Department of Conservation [DOC]), and Environment Waikato, which is managing the implementation of the project. Representatives of local iwi, Ngati Rahiri Tumutumu are also involved in project governance.