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MEDIA RELEASE: ENVIRONMENT GROUP CONCERNED ABOUT HEALTH IMPACTS OF WORLD’S LARGEST MANGANESE MINE ON GROOTE EYELANDT

22.12.2021

Media release: Environment group concerned about health impacts of world’s largest manganese mine on Groote Eyelandt

A study has found that residents of the Indigenous community of Angurugu on Groote Eyelandt, situated next to the world’s largest manganese mine, have concerningly high levels of manganese.

Eight years ago, the Anindilyakwa Land Council commissioned a study on the effects of the dust from the South32 Gemco manganese mine. The soon-to-be-published study was undertaken by researchers at the University of Queensland.

The mine has been operating since the 1960s, and previous studies found that an Indigenous person in Angurugu had twenty times the amount of manganese in their scalp compared to someone living in Sydney.

Despite concerns about manganese dust and its health impacts, the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NTEPA) does not have any independent air quality measurement stations on Groote Eylandt.

The recent news comes at a time when the Gunner Government is drafting changes to the Territory’s mining laws. Kirsty Howey, Co-Director of the environment centre says that “the concerning health and social impacts of this mine demonstrate the need for more robust mining laws in the Territory.”

“It should be incumbent upon the mining company to ensure, and to demonstrate, that their activities are not having adverse impacts on the local population.

“Mandating independent specialist and peer reviewed studies of the impacts of mining activities, as well as transparent and timely reporting to the public, are two critical reforms that would go a long way toward preventing concerning situations like what we are seeing on Groote Eyelandt with the South32 Gemco mine.”

 

For further comment, contact Kirsty Howey, 0488 928 811