At the risk of being exposed to radiation, you also have to see its beauty: Kunzhou abandoned mining area turned into an online celebrity tourist spot, do you dare to punch in?

[Free Tour]     31 Aug 2019
An abandoned mine pit called Mary Catherine (Mary Kathleen) in Kunzhou has now become a well-known attraction, although it also has some radiation risk.

An abandoned mine pit called Mary Catherine (Mary Kathleen) in Kunzhou has now become a well-known attraction, although it also has some radiation risk.

If you drive all the way to Mary Catherine, inland in Queensland, you can feel a cooler atmosphere behind the ghost town all the way. However, it is this gloomy atmosphere that attracts the attention of tourists.

Key point of view

  • The mine, which was closed in 1982, was Australia`s first large-scale environmental restoration project.
  • It is 30 minutes` drive from Mount Issa (Mount Isa) and can only be entered by off-road vehicles.
  • The mine is currently at a non-acute radiation level (& # 39 nonacute radiation 39; levels of radiation).)

Into the mining area, the foundation, once full of house, is now empty, with only an old sign on the abandoned town square marked with the location of the former swimming pool, post office and grocery store. In 1958, then Prime Minister Robert Menzies and Queensland Governor Frank Nicklin announced the official opening of the Mary Catherine Mine. At that time, the town, less than 10 kilometers from the mine, was inhabited by about 1000 residents, and the development of the mine greatly promoted the development of the town. But now all that remains is memories, as well as this abandoned mine and blue, beautiful but slightly radioactive reservoir.

Environmental restoration project in uranium mining area

In 1981, in the first year of the close of the uranium mine (the town was also closed), Mary Catherine had a population of 830. The location of the uranium deposit is only six kilometers from the town, and most of the tourists will drive off-the-road vehicles to visit here, and finally to see the beauty of the reservoir in the abandoned pit.

Tourists Heeyoung,Paul,Leah and Irvin come to the mine from Mount Isa to enjoy the reservoi

Mary Catherine was Australia`s first large-scale environmental restoration project for the uranium mine, which was completed in 1985 at a cost of about A $19 million. None of the town`s house was retained-they have been sold and moved to Mount Isa, 30 minutes away, and Cromcari (Cloncurry)., 45 minutes away. Today, there is only one sign on the abandoned town square surrounded by these house foundations, which shows a map of the bustling town 30 years ago. Now this is also a popular punch-in place for people to shoot Instagram celebrity photo.

Abandoned mines are actually dangerous.

Gavin Mudd, of the School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the Royal Melbourne University of Technology, says the rise of tourism in radiation areas will pose problems.

Photo: tourists flock to Mary Catherine to shoot online celebrity photo. (ABC North West Queensland: Kelly Butterworth)

"There are many physical safety risks to abandoned mines, not to mention chemical and radiation problems," said Dr. Mudd. "We know there is radiation here, compared to uranium, and we also know that the overall radiation here is higher than the background radiation, but fortunately it is not acute.

Local residents in Isa Mountain will tell you that the reservoir used to be green, not as clear and bright blue as it is now.

Dr Mudd says the reservoir color change is expected because the chemical here has change.

Mary Catherine`s reservoir is slightly radioactive, but it is still a celebrity attraction on the Internet.

"Rock weathering releases different metals and salt and makes it the color it is now," he said.

"rust is because of iron, green and blue, usually because of copper, sometimes silicon or magnesium, and so on."

"waste copper and gold mines all over the world can actually see this color."

As for the suitability of the area for travel, Dr. Mudd said it was safe to stay for a long distance and a short stay, but did not recommend swimming in the water.

"skin contact or drinking water here is also risky, and if you eat it by mistake, you may be in trouble," he said.

"The risk may not be acute, but I still don`t recommend swimming in abandoned mines..."

to bring tourism benefits to the region

Cheryl Wilson and Steve Kamerling accidentally saw Mary Catherine`s sign on their way back to their home in southeastern Queensland from Lake Al (Lake Eyre).

Mr. Kamerling said he probably remembered the history of the town, so he temporarily decided to drive to see it. Neither he nor Ms. Wilson had expected such a good view of the mine.

Cheryl Wilson and Steve Kamerling stopped here on their way back to Bentley from Lake Al.

"We didn`t know what kind of scenery there was. We thought it was a big hole in the ground at best. I didn`t expect the water and the scenery under it to be beautiful," Mr. Kamerling said. "I didn`t expect the water here to be so beautiful. Especially when you turn to this side, you look bright in front of you," Ms. Wilson added.

For North West Tours, an inland travel company in Isa Mountain, Mary Catherine`s charm attracts a steady stream of tourists.

Tour guide Philip Cochrane says social networks bring a lot of "traffic" to the area.

"nowadays, a lot of tourists have SUV, coupled with the publicity of social networks, the place is becoming more and more famous, gradually becoming a must-sign-in tourist attraction, and it is actually very convenient to drive over," he said.

"However, there are some tourists who have flown to Isa Hill or have no cross-country trip, and they`re going to have to play here."

"most tourists are elderly travelers, but we occasionally meet young couples who are traveling around Australia."

Mr Cochrane says while tourists are also worried about mine radiation, this has not stopped them.

"there must be some radiation problems, but I don`t think I have to worry too much," he said.

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