In Environment

Queensland Minister for Environment Andrew Powell

Queensland Minister for Heritage Protection Andrew Powell

Mining Company Fined For Causing Environmental Harm

Victor P Taffa

MMG Century Limited has been fined $40,000.00 for causing environmental harm following a zinc slurry spill from the Lawn Hill to Karumba pipeline in October 2009.

The Mount Isa Magistrates court also ordered the company to pay investigation costs of $5,000.00 and donate $40,000 to an environmentally relevant project.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) Acting Assistant Director-General Anne Lenz said the company pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawfully causing material environmental harm under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

“The offence relates to an uncontrolled release of 750 cubic metres of slurry over 1.5 ha of flat grassland in north west Queensland.” Ms. Lenz said.

“The zinc slurry was released following a pipeline rupture, resulting in the contamination of approximately 25,000 cubic metres of soil.”

“The company immediately erected fencing following the discharge to protect grazing cattle and has spent almost $10 Million on incident response and remediation, including replacing contaminated soil with clean fill.

“Fortunately no flora or fauna were harmed as a result of the event.”

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell, said the court ruling was a reminder that companies must operate within the boundaries of the law to protect the environment.

“While this government will strive to work with, and engage with, industry all companies have an obligation to comply with Queensland’s environmental laws and Queenslanders have a right to expect that companies will fulfil their environmental responsibilities.”  the Minister said.

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