Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group has paid a $25,000 fine to the Department of Environment Regulation over a discharge accident in 2015.
The DER issued the modified penalty to Fortescue subsidiary Chichester Metals, which operates the mining parent’s Cloudbreak operation, over the discharge of up to 3.6 million litres of hypersaline water into nearby vegetation.
The water, which contained nearly double the salinity of sea water, damaged about 7.5 hectares of vegetation.
A modified penalty is issued when required statutory conditions (including timely notification, remediation and measures to prevent reoccurrence) are met.
DER acting director general Dan Volaric said while the company had taken steps to prevent reoccurrences in the future, the emission was significant.
“The penalty of $25,000 is appropriate in this circumstance, considering the magnitude of the spill,” he said.
“Incidents like this could be prevented and DER will continue to impose such penalties in an effort to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”