One of the nation’s largest coal producers has been slapped with a big fine for releasing tonnes of dirt in a Central Queensland river, a judge has ruled.
Emerald Magistrates Court recently ordered BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) to pay a $200,000 infringement for releasing contaminated water from its Goonyella Riverside Coking Coal Mine, 203km southwest of Mackay.
Confessed to dumping 3000 tonnes
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science accused BMA of releasing 3000 tonnes of silt and sediment into the Isaac River with neither authorisation nor control back in June and July 2017.
The investigation also showed BMA failed to follow its water management plan and both erosion and sediment controls at the mine.
BMA confessed to causing serious environmental harm and pleaded guilty to three counts of contravening a condition of an environmental authority.
No conviction recorded
“We take our responsibilities very seriously and acknowledge that what occurred was unacceptable,” a BMA spokesperson told the Australian Associated Press (AAP). “We are heavily focused on continuous improvement of the environmental performance of our operations across the Bowen Basin.”
Although BMA will have to pay the investigation and legal costs, no conviction was recorded.
“The court accepted it was reasonable to expect that the release caused ecological impacts to aquatic fauna, including physical smothering, loss of habitat, and loss of food resources,” a departmental spokesman said according to AAP.