February 26, 2009

Flooding sends mine waste into rivers

Australian officials say water supplies in parts of north Queensland have been contaminated by mine waste discharged in recent flooding.

The Australian Environmental Protection Agency said landowners downstream of the Lady Annie copper mine have been ordered not to drink water or swim in Saga and Inca creeks because the water has been contaminated by heavy metals and acids, the Brisbane Courier-Mail reported Thursday.

At least nine other mines in the region have discharged contaminated material, the report said.

Ranchers fear the contamination could harm the region's burgeoning organic beef industry.