JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) has commended TSX-listed Ivernia for committing to work alongside government to identify the source of small amounts of airborne lead from its sealed containers.
Last week, Ivernia received a stop order from the Western Australian Environment and Conservation Minister relating to the transport of lead concentrate from the Magellan mine to the Fremantle port.
The order came after monitoring equipment installed by an independent inspector identified the presence of airborne lead from Magellan within a small number of containers.
Ivernia reported that all airborne lead levels in the sealed containers were consistently below the accepted occupational health levels established by the Australian National Occupational Safety and Health Commission.
However, it was a condition of the Health, Hygiene and Environmental Monitoring programme for the Magellan mine that transport should cease if lead is found to be present in the air inside the sealed shipping containers that transport the double-lined bags of lead concentrate from the mine to its customers.
Ivernia said over the weekend that the company, along with subsidiary Magellan Metals, would work with government agencies to investigate the possible source of the lead detected in the containers.
“The company is focused on addressing issues that may be identified in relation to its loading operations and restarting transport operations as soon as the issue is resolved to the satisfaction of the government of Western Australia,” the company said.
CME acting CEO Nicole Roocke said that the incident highlighted the integrity of independent monitoring, as well as the industry’s commitment to ensuring the safe export of lead concentrate.
Roocke noted that to date, monitoring at hundreds of sites had shown no contamination between the Megellan mine and the Fremantle port. “However, it is important to find the cause and provide 100% assurance to the Western Australian community.”
Meanwhile, Roocke said that a call to permanently cease all lead exports was “irresponsible”, with “little regard” for the hundreds of Western Australians who work in the industry.
Fremantle Member of Parliament Adele Carles has called on the state government to permanently ban lead exports, saying that the lead should be processed into a solid form before being exported.
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