Asbestos campaigners are urgings the government in New South Wales to clean up a white asbestos mine in Barraba, which lies abandoned. Officials from the Asbestos Diseases Foundation have said that the mine poses health dangers and hazards, and is asking the government to take urgent action to get it cleaned up.

Left abandoned since the 1980s, the mine has left tailings that are thought to contain around twenty five million tonnes of asbestos waste. However, government officials have claimed that the tailings do not pose any danger to residents.

One official from the ADF said that the government really needed to act quickly, as there could very well be dangers. He said: “It’s only been 20 years, roughly 20 odd years since that mine closed. It takes 20, 30, 40 years to come out, the disease. So for people to say it’s not dangerous or there’s been no health problems associated with this mine, well let’s see down the track.” Asbestos is a known carcinogenic, and can cause a range of health problems through exposure, including scarring of the lungs, respiratory problems, and asbestos related cancer.

Another official agreed that something needed to be done. He said: “Successive state governments put enormous amounts of money into keeping the mine going when it was operating. Now it’s been closed for 25 years, there’s a clear obligation to secure the safety of the community.”

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