SA mine drinking water contaminated with uranium

SA mine drinking water contaminated with uranium

About 100 workers at the Beverley uranium mine in South Australia’s far north have potentially been exposed to uranium through contaminated drinking water.

The mine’s owner, Heathgate Resources, says the water supply was contaminated on Thursday when a technician cleaning a desalination unit mistakenly added a solution containing uranium.

The company says the water supply was quickly shut off but workers could have been in contact with the water for about three hours.

Heathgate managing director Patrick Mutz says the workers who may have been exposed have been alerted to the problem.

“From our initial investigations and discussions with the authorities, there is no health checks required because of the extremely low levels of uranium,” he said.

Water tests have shown uranium levels were above the national guidelines.

Heathgate Resources says the desalination unit has been disconnected, and will be replaced.

The Greens want an independent inquiry into how the water became contaminated.

Greens Senator Bob Brown says it highlights the dangers of uranium.

“It points out the hazards of the human involvement, it points out the inevitable danger that human beings will fail at some stage in what is a very dangerous industry,” he said.

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