Anger over pollution from the McArthur River mine is boiling over in remote Borroloola where residents are planning a protest march to coincide with a report on the mine’s record for environmental performance.
When the Independent Mining Monitor for the McArthur Mine release their annual report tomorrow they will be handed a letter from senior elders of the four local indigenous clan groups demanding a cessation of mining activity until the pollution problem is solved.
The elders say fumes from a mountain of burning rock waste is affecting the health of local people and poisoning the McArthur River.
Locals report seeing dead fish floating in the river, which is a mecca for barramundi anglers. The locals are concerned the river will lose its attraction to visitors and Borroloola’s economy will suffer.
Indigenous elders say the mine is polluting their sacred sites.
The mine, 70 kilometres from Borroloola, is the world’s largest open cut zinc and lead mine. It is operated by Swiss-based Glencore.
Glencore has admitted that over burden from the mine can ignite spontaneously and produce clouds of sulphur dioxide, which can be hazardous to human health.
But the company claimed there was no risk to the health of the community in Borroloola.
Meanwhile Borroloola’s involvement in the anti-fracking movement has been highlighted in a program broadcast on the Melbourne-based radio station 3CR.