Tui Mine remediation project
The Tui Mine is an abandoned mine site on the western flanks of Mt Te Aroha in the Kaimai range and is surrounded by public conservation land in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. The mine produced a range of base metals, including copper, lead and zinc from 1966 to 1973, when it was abandoned by Norpac Mining Co.
Remains of the mining operation include this concrete ore hopper and other earthworks
The remains consist of mine adits, waste rock, ore dumps, stockpiles and deposited tailings from ore processing. There are various water discharges from the site including adit drainage, natural catchment drainage and contaminated under drainage (low pH, high dissolved metals concentrations) from waste rock and tailings. Water pollution has entered the streams and made them unsafe for drinking, and unable to support aquatic life or human recreation.
Both the Tunakohoia and nearby Tui streams have been affected by heavy metals leaching from the old mine. Both streams flow into the Waihou River at the base of Mount Te Aroha.
In the 2007 Budget, money from the Ministry for the Environment’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund was earmarked to start the clean up of Tui Mine and put an end to the heavy metals contamination. Since then project partners including Ministry for the Environment, Environment Waikato, Matamata-Piako District Council and Department of Conservation have invested time, money and effort in planning to ensure the best long-term environmental outcomes and reduced ongoing maintenance costs for the remediation project.
The aims are to:
- reduce the leaching of potentially toxic metals into the Tui and Tunakohoia streams and improve water quality.
- improve the stability of the tailings dam.
- restore the site so it can be used for public recreation in the future.
Work is now reaching its final stages at Tui Mine.
For more information about the remediation project visit the Tui Mine page on the Waikato Regional Council website.