Wet weather stops zinc production

China’s biggest metals trader MMG has temporarily halted the shipping of zinc concentrate from Queensland because of bad weather.

The downgraded tropical cyclone Oswald has this morning crossed the Queensland coast bringing with it strong rain and wind gusts of up to 100 km/h.

MMG has also restricted zinc processing at its Century mine, located about 300 kilometers from the port of Karumba, Melbourne-based spokeswoman Kathleen Kawecki said.

The Century mine has an annual production capacity of 500,000 tonnes, making it the second-biggest zinc mine globally.

Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald is expected to continue moving inland today before tracking south on Wednesday the Australian Bureau of Meteorology stated.

MMG’s state-owned parent, China Minmetals Corp., trades non-ferrous metals as well as bulk commodities iron ore and coal, Bloomberg reported.

MMG has in the past been fined more than $40 000 for a zinc spill in 2009.

In October 2009, it suffered a zinc spill from a pipeline which transports slurry concentrates.

Around 300 tonnes of zinc slurry, which consisted of about 160 tonnes of zinc metal, poured out of the pipeline.

Following an initial investigation, Queensland's Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) said there was no danger to waterways or drainage areas from the spill.

This is not the first time the miner had faced court over environmental charges.

In 2010 it was under fire for 'hazardous waste water management".

It was 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 faced a potential maximum penalty of $832 500 for each charge.

Speaking to Australian Mining at the time, MMG stakeholder relations manager Matt Foran stated that while MMG was unable to comment on the charges, it was one of a number of companies that was effected during the heavy wet season and at the time had spent $350,000 in its clean up process and has committed a further $8 million towards corrective improvements of its water management system.

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