Landmark pollution case launched

April 26, 2008

A landmark legal case has begun against mining corporation Xstrata over claims that it "wilfully and negligently" caused toxic contamination of large parts of the north-western Queensland city of Mount Isa over decades.

On April 24, a notice of claim was served on the company, its subsidiary Mt Isa Mines Ltd, the Mt Isa City Council and the state government in the test case of Mt Isa six-year-old Stella Hare. The accompanying documents allege that she has been exposed at her home and the Mount Isa Central State School to dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium and other toxins that affected her brain and nerves.

Lawyer Damian Scattini told the April 12 Brisbane Courier Mail that Stella "is exhibiting the classic signs of lead poisoning in that she is having difficulties concentrating, she is falling behind at school, she has got poor memory and she has got attention deficit type behaviour. She is painfully thin."

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