Environmental effects statement “absolutely critical” for proposed hazardous waste tailings dam in Ballarat

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MEDIA RELEASE 17 August 2023

Greens MP Dr Sarah Mansfield says environmental effects statement “absolutely critical” for proposed hazardous waste tailings dam in Ballarat

Greens MP Dr Sarah Mansfield says it’s ‘disgraceful’ that a 43-hectare hazardous waste tailings dam could be approved for Ballarat without an Environmental Effects Statement (EES).

Dr Mansfield rose in Parliament this week to demand the State Government and Minister for Planning intervene and order an EES to ensure community health and the environment can be protected.

Recently, the City of Ballarat granted a permit for a fourth tailings storage dam for the Ballarat Gold Mine in the suburb of Mount Clear.

The distance between this new hazardous waste dam and nearby houses, aged-care centres, and local schools will now be just 100 metres. For most tailings dams in other areas around the country a one-kilometre buffer zone is standard practice and considered safe.

The mine extends along half the western boundary of Mount Clear on a high windy ridge with only a road between the mine and the neighbouring community. 

The potential for dust arising from the works and ongoing dam operations that may be contaminated by arsenic and respirable crystalline silica at PM10 and PM2.5 grades is of major concern to the community. Contaminated dust can cause respiratory problems, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses that lead to premature death in vulnerable groups.

Mount Clear residents and Central Highlands Water have taken the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, stating they are concerned about the risk to the environment and public health from dust migration and water leakage.



“The Ballarat community has a right to be distressed about this. It’s disgraceful that under the Victorian mining approvals system, a hazardous waste tailings dam can be approved within 100 metres of houses, aged care centres and local schools without the proper environmental checks and balances.

“It’s time the State Government intervenes to prioritise human health and life by ordering an Environmental Effects Statement as a key condition of this permit.”

Feature image source: Ballarat Gold Mine


Melanie Drummond

EMAIL: melanie.drummond@parliament.vic.gov.au

PHONE: (03) 5222 1941

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