People from the mining town of Rosebery areplanning to sue the states environmental andhealth bodies, as well as the mine operator MMG Australia which are accused of exposing the residents to toxic contaminants from mining activities.

“As of now, there are 28 people who have contacted us that they have some bad feelings about their health due to heavy metals while they are at work or living at Rosebery,” Peter Long of law firm Slater & Gordon said.

Former and existing residents claimed that they have experienced weakening conditions from nerve and brain damage to hair loss, dental and skin problems and mood disorders such as aggressions, depression and sleeping problems.

A 54 year old Kay Sletitzas was the first person to have contacted Mr. Long. She lived in Rosebery for 15 years and she began suffering mild hair loss, aching bones and of depression.

“Then on January 2006 I woke in a hospital where I have been for about a month already,” she said.

“I had braid damage, my lungs collapsed and I couldn’t talk. I almost had no blood pressure. I’m almost dying.”

“No one thought to check for the heavy metals, although I lived in a mining town,” she said.

When a neighbor’s cat became ill after drinking water in a garden, residents started to seek test for the heavy metals. Results have showed elevated levels of toxic substances such as lead, copper, cadmium and arsenic.

Sally Cox, MMG spokewoman said: “There has been no legal proceedings lodged to date, but we understand the concerns that we are receiving from the community. That’s why we begun environmental sampling just last year in order to establish a better picture of what is in the Rosebery environment and participate in an intergovernmental and community group that is set-up to determine if there is really a health risk.”