Calcine sands management continues
Monday 3 May, 2021
The next stage in the management and assessment of calcine sands at two historic areas in Stawell will commence this month.
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.
In-line with directions by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, permanent fencing will be installed during May, replacing the temporary barriers currently in place. 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: Calcine sands management - Stawell historic areas
Quotes attributable to Zoe Wilkinson, Calcine Sands Project Manager–Parks Victoria:
“Parks Victoria; the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; and Northern Grampians Shire Council are 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.”
“By the end of the year we hope to have a clear picture on the best management approach for these historic areas.”