Magellan mine in Western Australia shut down after lead leaks

16:27, January 06, 2011      

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Magellan Metals, an international base metals mining company, has temporarily shut down its mine near Wiluna in Western Australia's midwest after airborne leaks of toxic lead were detected in rail containers at Fremantle port, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported on Thursday.

The Government of Western Australia (WA) one week ago suspended the road and rail carriage of lead carbonate from the mine, 980 km northeast of Perth, while the company and environmental regulators were investigating breaches of transport conditions.

The company had reported the detection of airborne lead carbonate outside sealed bags in the rail containers.

Strict environmental conditions imposed on the company specify that lead must be sealed within double-lined bags in the containers for transport.

In a statement from Canada, Magellan's parent company Ivernia said that due to uncertainty about when shipments could recommence, a temporary shutdown of mining and processing operations had begun.

"The mining and processing operations will be shut down in a safe and thorough manner, such that operations can recommence rapidly once the stop order is lifted," the company said.

Ivernia Chief Executive and President Alan De'ath said there was no risk to public health and the airborne lead levels in the containers were well below occupational health levels established by the Australian National Occupational Safety and Health Commission.

In 2007, Magellan was barred from shipping lead out of the southern WA city of Esperance after extensive lead contamination there killed thousands of birds and boosted lead levels in the blood of children.

Source: Xinhua

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