Newcrest Cadia mine under investigation

Newcrest’s Cadia Holdings Pty Ltd mine in Central West NSW has been issued with a draft pollution Prevention Notice and a draft licence variation regarding the management of emissions of dust and other pollutants as part of a new investigation commenced by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The EPA has also written to the NSW Chief Health Officer requesting a full health risk analysis to determine if mine dust is impacting the health of the community.

NSW EPA Chief Executive Officer, Tony Chappel said Australian industries have both moral and legal obligations to limit their impact on communities. 

“Everyone in NSW has a right to clean air no matter where they live,” Mr Chappel said.

“Industry has strict obligations to meet clean air standards and currently Cadia appears to be falling well short of our expectations.

“Last week, the EPA received new evidence from the community to suggest actions by the mine to reduce dust pollution have not been effective.

“Understandably, this community needs answers and so too does the EPA.

“As part of the notices, we are requiring immediate re-testing of the mine’s main vent and an extension of the ambient air sampling network to deliver expanded air monitoring.

“We understand the community will have questions and we want to work closely with them throughout our investigation. We’re holding a community drop-in session tomorrow (Tuesday, 23 May 2023) from 10am - 1pm at the Millthorpe Museum to be on hand for any concerns residents may have.”

The draft licence variation formalises existing and additional actions to:

  • Finalise an independent health risk assessment with NSW Health
  • Deploy a smart sensing network of real-time monitoring, in consultation with the community
  • Finalise and release a report examining dust fingerprinting, to better identify the contributions of dust at locations identified by the local community, with analysis undertaken by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
  • Engage a specialist to interpret results from lead isotope testing to identify the source/s of lead found in water tank sludge
  • Develop an effective sampling methodology for vent shafts within the mine operations area
  • Offer a service to the local community for household water tank cleaning and filling
  • Implement additional dust mitigation works

Late last year, the EPA also commenced a separate investigation into Cadia, also related to air quality concerns which will run in parallel to this new investigation. In March 2023, testing carried out by NSW Health found contaminants in the local community’s tap water including copper, lead, nickel and zinc were within the Australian drinking water guidelines and is safe to drink. The draft notices were issued on Friday, 19 May 2023 and Cadia has until Tuesday 23 May 2023 to provide any response.