Feb 04, 2019

State checks in on Yabulu tailings as flooding continues

State checks in on Yabulu tailings as flooding continues

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) says it is closely monitoring tailings storage at the Yabulu refinery as Townsville suffers severe flooding.

A spokeswoman said DES staff had consulted with Queensland Nickel Sales staff today (February 4).

“QNS reported that its tailings storage facility dam still had capacity to receive approximately 1129 mm of rainfall,” she said.

“The company has continued to report to the department that they have significant storage capacity despite the rainfall.

“DES has continued to liaise with QNS throughout the weather event and the company has staff on site monitoring water levels. QNS staff report that there are no issues regarding water levels on the site.”

She said pumps and generators were in place to move contaminated water between structures in order to maintain capacity throughout the event.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said it may be days before the full impact of the weather event on Queensland mining operations was known.

But they were used to wild weather and had prevention measures, with upgraded levee banks and pumping capacity he said.

“As with all natural disasters, the safety and wellbeing of employees and the communities in which they live are front and centre right now for our member companies,” Mr Macfarlane said.

Getting to work was the challenge for many mine workers, with roads cut throughout the regions and Townsville airport closed.

Update: Vision from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services HERE

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