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Published: 2013-03-06 00:00:00

A comprehensive update on the $16.2 million Tui Mine remediation project will be available at the Te Aroha Domain Day on Sunday 17 March from 9am to 4pm.

The project involves the Ministry for the Environment, Waikato Regional Council, Matamata-Piako District Council, the Department of Conservation and local iwi.

Late last year, the project partners announced the major threat posed by the abandoned mine site at Te Aroha had been removed with the completed stabilisation of old mine tailings. It meant there is no longer any risk of the dam made up of old tailings collapsing and sending toxic chemicals down into the Tui Stream and on to nearby flood plains.

The project’s stand at site 77 at the Domain Day will be an opportunity to catch up with what’s happened since that announcement and to gain a better understanding of future work plans.

Project manager Ghassan Basheer of Waikato Regional Council said some key parts of the remediation process had been completed since last year’s announcement.

“There were some remaining tailings downstream of the tailings dam that also needed to be stabilised so they wouldn’t flow downstream in an earthquake or severe weather event. This has now been done to a high standard.”

Also, specialised underground engineering “shear key” work has now been completed as part of the work to keep the stabilised dam tailings in place long-term, and drainage works at the site have been put in place.

Currently, a special one-metre cap over the tailings landform is being constructed. This is designed to stop oxygen and water entering the stabilised tailings in the short term until vegetation cover establishes. The cap is due to be completed and grassed by next month.

Planting of natives at the site’s old processing plant is due to start in May, while planting at the rest of the site will get underway in October.

A Cultural Monitoring Plan developed by the project’s Iwi Advisory Group is examining further projects designed to restore the health of local stream catchments. Information on this plan will also be available at the Domain Day.

Meanwhile, Mr Basheer said a water quality monitoring report for 2012 showed an improving trend following completion of the underground remediation work.

The report said that, compared to 2011, the latest results showed a decrease in contaminant load to varying degrees (68 per cent to 92 per cent) for the different trace elements. It also showed that the total outflow from the underground working has decreased by 72 per cent.

For more information on the Tui Mine remediation project, contact Ghassan Basheer on 0800 800 401 or visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Services/Regional-services/Waste-hazardous-substances-and-contaminated-sites/Tui-mine/