Workers dig up asbestos dump

Thursday, 22 April, 2004

About 40 workers constructing a massive gas pipeline in remote Western Australia were undergoing medical tests after stumbling across a hidden asbestos dump.

The 200 m-wide dump was concealed under a thick layer of topsoil. It contained rubbish as well as pieces of corrugated asbestos cement.

The West Australian Department of Industry and Resources said it believed the incident was a one-off and the report from an emergency clean-up team that tested the site found it was highly unlikely workers had been exposed to airborne fibres.

Construction crews came across the dump while digging a trench for the $114 million gas pipeline from Port Hedland to Newcrest Mining's Telfer gold and copper mine project. Work on the 442 km pipeline has now resumed after the site was decontaminated. The union suspects the asbestos was dumped from the former gold mine.

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