Magellan in trouble again


Magellan Metals halts operations again and will review all processes after the discovery of lead contaminated shipping containers at Fremantle Port

Magellan in trouble again
Magellan in trouble again

April 7, 2011

Magellan Metals has once again halted its operations and will undertake a review of all its processes after the discovery of lead contaminated shipping containers at Fremantle Port.

Magellan’s Canada-based parent company Ivernia says isotopic testing of mud samples at the bottom of
the shipping container shows a "high probability" that the lead detected had been transported from the Magellan Mine.

"Magellan Metals immediately informed Western Australia’s Office of the Environmental Protection Authority (OEPA)," Ivernia says.

However the company asserts there is no suggestion the lead is from the bagged lead carbonate concentrate within the shipping container, a result consistent with previous sampling along the transport route.

Ivernia also says there is no risk to public safety.

According to the company, initial enquiries indicate there has not been a breakdown in the washing and inspection procedures for shipping containers leaving the mine site.

During the transport process, shipping containers rest on the ground both at the Magellan minesite and at the rail yard at Leonora.

"Recent heavy rainfall has produced wet ground conditions at these sites, and they are considered the likely source of mud on the container," Ivernia says.

"The result does not confirm whether the mud came from the minesite or the rail yard at Leonora."

Ivernia claims the contaminated mud might originate from previously approved operations at the Magellan mine between 2005 and 2007.

However the company admits the discovery of Magellan lead in the mud sample is unacceptable, no matter where it originated.

"Magellan Metals appreciates that there is considerable local interest in its operations in Western Australia and it has therefore initiated clean up of the lead-bearing mud, regardless of its origin," the company says.

"As a consequence Magellan Metals has voluntarily stopped the transport of lead concentrate from the mine."

Ivernia says it has also decided to undertake a comprehensive end-to-end review of all its activities related to the mine, including the mining, processing, transporting and management of lead carbonate production and export.

"Magellan has commenced a preliminary investigation into the source and extent of the lead-bearing mud and will design a full investigation in consultation with relevant Government agencies.

Magellan’s review will be assisted by external expertise, and will include an assessment of the risks of non-compliance with the Interim Implementation Conditions in terms of practical daily issues involved in a mining operation.

"The objective is to prevent an ongoing pattern of disruption to operations and to further reduce risks associated with the most stringent transport conditions placed on any Western Australian mining operation," Ivernia says.

"Mud has been observed on a small number of additional containers," the company adds.

Samples of this material has been collected and sent for testing; results are pending.

The Magellan Metals workforce has commenced an orderly shutdown of operations and the Company will be discussing with employees and contractors their future roles at the site over the next few days.

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