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Eucalypts thrive at acidic Mt Morgan site

Editorial
article image The open cut Mount Morgan copper mine. Image: University of Queensland.

Every now and again nature surprises scientists and professionals.

Two weeks ago councillors touring the decommissioned Mt Morgan gold mine noticed Eucalypt seedlings growing on the banks of the highly acidic pit.

"Seedlings were growing in highly acidic soil where the pH shouldn't support them, and they are thriving," Councillor Neil Fisher said.

"On the very edge of the water, 300-400 eucalypt seedlings are growing where plants normally would have died."

Closed in 1981 the mine is located about 40 kilometres south of Rockhampton on the Dee River and is currently managed by the state government.

Fisher said he is keen to have Central Queensland University investigate the natural rehabilitation, The Morning Bulletin reports.

"Phytoremediation is where plants help to draw out toxins and metals from the soil they are growing in ... but it needs to go from a horticulturalist's point of view to microbiologists and botanists," he said.

Earlier this year record rainfall resulted in the uncontrolled release of water from the Mount Morgan site.

Local councillors say they will continue to lobby state and federal representatives to improve the situation at Mount Morgan.

"We want a commitment that there is a consistent effort and budget for this process and to reduce the amount of water in the pit, therefore reducing the risk of overflow into the Dee River," said Cr Fisher.

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