QMEB ยป Authority drops charges after resources giant acts on poor environment
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Authority drops charges after resources giant acts on poor environment

Fortescue Christmas Creek Iron Ore Mine
Fortescue Christmas Creek Iron Ore Mine

A regulator will stop pursuing a mining company after management addressed substandard employment conditions.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) will avoid paying up to $1.87 million in fines for 34 alleged sexual harassment incidents at the Christmas Creek, Solomon and Cloudbreak mines.

The Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) recently approved a proposed enforceable undertaking with FMG.

The legally binding agreement involves FMG educating contracted workers and improving so-called positive management culture at an executive level. Findings will be shared with other employers across the industry.

“Fortescue has committed to spend more than $1.4M in the first enforceable undertaking entered into under the state’s work health and safety legislation,” WorkSafe acting commissioner Sally North said in a public statement.

“This agreement is in the best interests of workers across the mining sector. Fortescue’s investment is well above the fine that could be expected if it was convicted of the underlying charges.”

WorkSafe will monitor progress through holding quarterly meetings with the proponent. Further action will be taken if the undertaking is undelivered.

FMG previously accused authorities of having “no legal basis” to seek worker information before declining to provide documents without employee knowledge and consent. However, this tone changed after holding talks with DMIRS on 13 February 2023.

“We have never refused to comply,” an FMG spokesperson previously said.

“In the past we have offered to provide redacted documents and DMIRS would not agree.”

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