Australia’s Mining History Continues to Pose Present Day Health Hazards

Australia’s Mining

The Australian landscape has been patched with a history that is rich in minerals. Even today, Australia contributes to a large part of mining of the world. Every state in the country has ongoing mining activities. In the mid-1800s, drilling the land to unearth resources became the norm, bringing riches to the country that are singlehandedly responsibility for its infrastructural progression.

The 1850s gold rush may have defined the country’s economy, but mining activities across the country has fraught as many challenges as they have reaped wealth. Radiation being one of the most serious byproducts of mining, affecting generation in mining town. Residents of Adelaide have been warned against using groundwater. The water is contaminated from uranium and degreasing chemicals. It’s a universal ban announced for all citizens of the Adelaide suburb of Thebarton.

Though not yet completely assessed there is a potential health threat to using the water according to authorities. Investigation into the same are already underway. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has taken the matter into its hands. Traces of chemicals tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE), have also been found in the water. Water bans due to industry waste have become a commonplace feature of Adelaide suburbs.

Waste from testing uranium, at the laboratory till 2008 has amassed deposits of uranium. In spite of a cleanse in 80s and 90s, elevated uranium and lead was found in the soil. EPA states, “Groundwater sampling results indicated that the metals in the groundwater (uranium, lead and arsenic) remain at levels above guideline values for drinking water.”

The radiation from uranium, however is being termed less of a hazard when compared to TCE and PCE traces. With the state’s long history and engagement with radium and uranium, ongoing efforts have not led to any fruition. There have reported cases of leukemia, skin cancer, chest and breathing complains and eye irritations. The long-term effects of these chemicals and ancient deposits is still unknown but health hazards are expected to affect everyone.