WA probes East Kimberley iron ore spill

The Western Australian Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) is investigating a discharge of turbid water from the Ridges iron ore mine after a creek near Doon Doon in the East Kimberley turned red.

It follows significant rainfall in the area, prompting the DWER to attend the mine site and take samples at downstream catchment points.

The Kimberley Land Council stated that the creek was contaminated by iron ore dust.

The levy bank within the mine site had broken due to high rain fall, causing a red ore or dust to run off into the creek, according to the advice received by the council from Ridges Iron Ore.

The DWER also stated that the turbid water consisted of haematite and did not contain chemicals or tailings.

“No health risk has been identified and initial findings indicate that the water quality is good,” a DWER spokesperson said.

“The department is awaiting further analysis of the water samples and its investigations into the incident are continuing.”

The Kimberley Land Council chief executive Brian Wilkinson added: “The (council) is here to represent the Aboriginal people in the Kimberley, in this case, the people of Warmun and Doon Doon who fish and swim in this creek, and we will ensure we do everything we can to see this issue and the concerns of the community resolved as quickly as possible.”

The Ridges iron ore mine is owned under a joint venture agreement between investment company Habrok Mining and Ridges Iron Ore. It is operated by mining services company Indus Mining.

Indus is responsible for complete pit to port operations at the mine, including ore and waste handling, crushing and screening as well as blending.

The mine is 177 kilometres south of Kununurra.

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