Parks Victoria taking action over potential calcine sands

Thursday 23 April, 2020

Potential deposits of calcine sands have been identified at the Moonlight-cum-Magdala and Oriental Mine Company Historic Areas, in Stawell. 

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 higher levels of heavy metals, such as arsenic, compared to other mine tailings, and may be harmful to humans if ingested. 

Parks Victoria has contacted the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) about the potential deposits and collected soil samples to inform a management response.

In consultation with EPA, and as a precautionary approach until more is known, Parks Victoria has covered the areas containing potential calcine sands, contacted nearby residents and is installing signage.

Parks Victoria will provide a public update after reviewing soil sample results and understanding whether further restrictions or remediation are required. 

Information about mine tailings/calcine sands
• Gold mining works create ‘tailings’ and leftover material such as rock, sand, and earth that can sometimes be higher in arsenic than the surrounding soil and rock. 
• Many towns and cities in Victoria have been built in areas with a history of gold mining and mine tailings that contain arsenic are spread over areas of land.
• Arsenic and other heavy metals occur naturally through the Goldfields and Central Victoria. 

Further information on living with mine tailings/calcine sands can be found in the EPA publication, “Are you living in an area with mine tailings?”

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Josh Maher

(03) 8427 3144 Mobile: 0448 373 986

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