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The Acting Premier has announced the closure of the road that passes through the derelict Woodsreef Asbestos Mine at Barraba.

Andrew Stoner says the public health risks to keep open the road, known as Crow Mountain Road, are far too high with deposits of Chrysotile, or white asbestos considered to be a carcinogen, present at the Woodsreef mine.

The mine is managed as part of the New South Wales Derelict Mines Program.

Andrew Stoner says processed friable asbestos material stockpiled throughout the mine site, and the expert advice received by the Woodsreef Mine Taskforce, indicate it is unsafe.

“In addition to this, tailings material containing asbestos has been deposited on the surface of Mine Road and subsequently disturbed by passing vehicles,” he said in a statement.

The Acting Premier says he is aware that some Barraba residents wish to keep the road open, but he says the state government would breach its public duty if it took any other course of action.

A scoping study report has rejected construction of an alternate access route around the derelict mine, saying the existing road network is sufficient.

Andrew Stoner says the NSW government has accepted this advice.

Nationals’ Member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson, says he is disappointed with the decision, but says he understands the reasons behind the closure.

The recommendation for the road closure was made in 2011.

Residents of Barraba have registered their anger at the decision, saying their suggestions about the future of the road have been ignored.

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