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Published: 2010-10-13 00:00:00

The first stage of underground works to clean up the contaminated Tui Mine site on the slopes of Mt Te Aroha is due to get underway following formal blessing by local iwi at Tui Pa marae and the mine site next MondayThe blessing is an essential part of the preparatory requirements for working on Te Aroha, said project manager Ghassan Basheer.

This 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. 

“This will substantially reduce the level of contaminants discharging from the mine, which will improve the water quality of the north branch of the Tunakohoia Stream and the whole stream downstream of where the two branches of the stream meet at Te Aroha township,” Mr Basheer said.

“We expect to see improvement in water quality over time as the volume of polluted water is reduced and existing contamination is flushed from the system.”