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March newsletter 2010

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Issue #2
March 2010

The story so far

The Tui Mine story started in 1967. Norpac Mining Ltd opened the mine to extract metals, including copper, lead and zinc. The company found gold and silver among the ore, and the mine prospered. Then unacceptable levels of mercury were found in the ore and the mine became uneconomic. Norpac abandoned the site in 1973 and went into liquidation in 1975.

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Tui Mine project reaches major milestone

Applications for consent to clean up the Tui Mine have recently been lodged with Environment Waikato and Matamata Piako District Council following years of planning, trials to identify the best remediation options, and ongoing discussions with the community.

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Two-phase clean up

The first phase is to prepare the site and remediate the underground parts of the mine. The $4.5 million cost of this is funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund.

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The aims of the clean up

  • Reduce the release of contaminants from the old mine to improve the quality of water flowing into the Tui and Tunakohoia.
  • Contain the tailings within a stable and secure location and improve the geotechnical stability of the tailings dam to prevent the potentially catastrophic failure of the existing embankment.
  • Improve the safety, visual appearance and aesthetics of the site.

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Imagine a future…

Imagine the site 10 years from now: grassed areas and healthy native plantings of flaxes, hebes, toetoe have transformed the blighted area to a popular heritage park. Trampers use the site as a meeting point; schools pupils come to the heritage park to learn about the area’s rich industrial and social history; family groups use the grassy picnic area; and from time to time the grassed area amps up for use as a concert venue.

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Keeping in touch

We want to keep in touch as we work to clean up the Tui Mine. It is expected the project will feature intense bursts of activity followed by periods of 'nothing much new happening'. For this reason, the project will send newsletters as new information comes to hand and milestones are reached.

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Who’s involved?

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