THE Environment Protection Authority Victoria has directed Parks Victoria to permanently fence off the areas impacted by the calcine sands in Stawell.
Temporary barriers are in place as the next stage in the management and assessment is carried out at the two historic areas.
Calcine sands were identified last year at the Moonlight-cum-Magdala and Oriental Mine Company Historic Areas, and initial steps taken to treat the affected areas. Calcine sands are a by-product of historic gold mining activity and may be harmful if ingested.
Consultants will also begin further sampling to determine whether calcine sands are present elsewhere and, if so, what remediation may be required.
To date, the use of mulch appears to have been effective in covering and suppressing movement of the areas known to contain calcine sands.
Calcine sands, a form of mine tailings that are identifiable by their red or purple colour, were left behind following the extraction of gold from rocks during historic gold mining activity more than 100 years ago. Calcine sands may contain heavy metals, such as arsenic, that may be harmful to humans if ingested.
Further information on living with mine tailings can be found in the EPA publication, "Are you living in an area with mine tailings?" https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-epa/publications/1706
Parks Victoria will continue to keep the local community updated on its management of these two historic areas, with information also available at: https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects/calcine-sands-management---stawell-historic-areas
Parks Victoria's calcine sands project manager Zoe Wilkinson said Parks Victoria; the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; and Northern Grampians Shire Council were working together to better understand the potential extent of calcine sands at these two historic areas.
"The public is advised to observe signage, stay out of fenced-off areas, and not swim or fish in the Moonie Tailings dams," she said.
"By the end of the year we hope to have a clear picture on the best management approach for these historic areas."
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