AUSTRALIA’S mining industry is to meet tougher standards on the toxicity of water sources, with some of the biggest names in the industry expected to agree to strict measures to prevent more toxic contaminants from leaking into groundwater.

Key points: The Federal Government is proposing to require companies to have groundwater samples taken every 10 years from every mine siteThe Federal Government will also make it mandatory for mines to take groundwater samples from their mining operations every five yearsThere will also be a cap on groundwater contamination, with the Federal Government proposing to cap contamination in the same way it does for water pollution.

Key Points:The Federal government is proposing that all mines have groundwater sampling every 10-yearsThe Government will require mines to have the samples taken from every mining site every five-yearsIndustry groups have warned the new standards will lead to increased contamination of water supplies and the degradation of groundwater.

But Environment Minister Mark Butler said he was confident the industry would follow the guidelines and take action to improve the quality of the water.

“We’re not just going to make sure the mine water’s clean, we’re going to look at all of the measures we can to improve that water,” he said.

“I’m confident the mining industry will comply with the guidelines.”

Industry group Mines Australia says the new regulations will put mine operators in a difficult position.

“The industry has a lot to lose if the industry can’t meet the new standard in a timely fashion,” Mines Australia chief executive David MacGregor said.

The Government is also proposing to make it compulsory for mines not to take the groundwater samples every five to seven years.

It will also require companies in mining to have their groundwater sampled every five, 10 and 15 years.


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