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Mining company fined $45,000 over zinc and lead spill

Posted on 13 April 2012
A mining company has been ordered to pay $45,000 in penalties following a zinc and lead spill from one of its northwest Queensland pipelines in 2009.

MMG Century Limited pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawfully causing material environmental harm in the Mount Isa Magistrates Court, the state government says.

The spill occurred along MMG Century's Lawn Hill to Karumba pipeline, about 115km northeast of its Lawn Hill mine, in October 2009.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) says 750 cubic metres of zinc and lead slurry was released over 1.5 hectares of flat grassland following a rupture in the pipeline.

About 25,000 cubic metres of soil was contaminated.

DEHP acting assistant director-general Anne Lenz says no flora or fauna was harmed.

"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," she said in a statement.

MMG Century was ordered to pay investigation costs of $5,000 and donate $40,000 to an environmentally relevant project.

It's not the first time the company has pleaded guilty to causing environmental harm.

In 2010 the Mount Isa Magistrates Court ordered MMG Century pay $130,000 after it discharged toxic wastewater into a creek near the Lawn Hill mine during the 2009 wet season.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell says the latest court ruling is a reminder to companies to operate within the boundaries of the law to protect the environment.

"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," he said in a statement.

Source: Industry Search
Tags: Industry News Toxic Spills

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