Queensland miners face environmental charges

Miners face charges for alleged waste water contamination.

Two Queensland miners have seen charges laid against them for hazardous waste water management.

MMG’s Century Mine has been charged by the Department of Environmental and Resource Management (DERM) with causing ‘serious environmental harm’ for its water management.

Acting Sustainability Minister Andrew Fraser said MMG Century has been charged with causing serious environmental harm.

It has been alleged that the zinc mine discharged waste water into Page Creek during the heavy wet season in January 2008.

As a result of this MMG Century is facing a potential maximum penalty of $832 500 for each charge.

Speaking to MINING DAILY, MMG Stakeholder Relations Manager Matt Foran stated that while MMG is unable to comment on the current charges, it was one of a number of companies that was effected during the heavy wet season and has to date spent $350 000 in its clean up process and has committed a further $8 million towards corrective improvements of its water management system.

This follows the zinc spill that occurred late last year, where a broken pipeline discharged approximately 300 tonnes of zinc slurry. MMG worked closely with DERM during this incident, with the Department’s northern regional services director Rob Lawrence telling MINING DAILY at the time that there was no serious environmental damage from the spill.

Fellow miner Aditya Birla’s Mt Gordon is also facing charges by DERM for ongoing compliance issues regarding its storage of waste water on-site and other environmental contaminant concerns.

It faces a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

DERM Assistant Director General Dean Ellwood told MINING DAILY that in the case of both MMG Century and Aditya Birla, the Department took the strongest avenue of action against both of these companies.

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