Brighter future beckons for Collingwood tin site

Minister for Resources The Honourable Scott Stewart

Patrick Yeatman (L) and Horace Friday (R) collect seeds of native plants for the rehabilitation of the Collingwood Tin mine site

Native plants and a safe, usable site will eventually replace the abandoned Collingwood Tin mine site near Cooktown, thanks to a partnership between Traditional Owners and the Palaszczuk Government.

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said specialists from the Department of Resources had been working closely with the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation on the $7.5 million project to make the site safe and usable again.

“It’s so important to have Traditional Owners involved in the process of returning the land to a natural state,” Ms Lui said.

“Work is progressing well to deliver a safe, terraced site and a stable and secure tailings dam revegetated with native plants.

“Importantly, the remediation work is expected to create up to 13 fulltime jobs across the life of the project, part-time or short-term work for an estimated 50 people, and additional flow on work through local services and suppliers.

“To have rehabilitation of the site go hand in hand with creating employment for locals shows the commitment the Palaszczuk Government has to job creation and working with Traditional Owners on matters of country.”

Ms Lui said the rehabilitation of the Collingwood Tin mine site was an example of the Palaszczuk Government creating jobs in the local community.

“The onsite crew has been moving tonnes of tailings – the crushed rock and waste material left behind after minerals have been extracted from ore,” Ms Lui said.

“Once the tailings are reshaped, they will be capped, and the area topsoiled and revegetated with native plants from seeds that the Traditional Owners have collected locally.”

The former tin mine, 35km south of Cooktown, operated for three years from 2005 to 2008.

The operator went into liquidation in 2015, leaving the Government to make the site safe.

Work to date has included shutting off a 200-metre-deep ventilation shaft and ensuring there are no uncontrolled releases of water into the Annan River catchment, which provides Cooktown’s water supply and feeds into the Great Barrier Marine Park.

A grate is installed at the underground mine entry to prevent public access, while still allowing access for animals, including the endangered large-eared horseshoe bat.

Other work has included the demolition and removal of the abandoned processing plant and equipment, remediation of the former drill core area and significant work on the high-voltage electricity network to maintain power to the JYAC Aboriginal Rangers office on site.

Works recommence later this month with replanting scheduled for later this year and early 2023. The project is expected to be completed by June 2023.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the Government was investing $15.8 million over two years in managing abandoned mine sites across the state.

Remediation projects range from the mine shaft investigations and repairs in the historic gold mining towns of Gympie and Charters Towers to plugging gas wells in the south-west.

“Large-scale mining has been central to Queensland’s economy and development since the 19th century,” Minister Stewart said.

“This history has left us with a legacy that the Government continues to manage to maintain public safety and protect our natural environment.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s major reforms to mine rehabilitation and the financial ‘bonds’ for mines more than four years ago now mean that taxpayers and the environment are better protected when mining ends or sites are abandoned.”

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