News

Orica fined for a string of environmental offences

Aerial photo of Gladstone's Orica facility. Photo: Chrissy Harris
Aerial photo of Gladstone's Orica facility. Photo: Chrissy Harris Chrissy Harris

ORICA Australia has been fined $432,000 after pleading guilty to a string of environmental offences in the Gladstone Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The chemical manufacturer, which has its largest Australian facility at Yarwun, was fined and convicted $32,000 for one environmental breach and $400,000 between three separate breaches which occurred between February 2010 and February 2012.

In a Queensland first, magistrate Russell Warfield ruled that a portion of the fine could be allocated to a number of conservation groups via the public benefit order section of the Environmental Protection Act.

The Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said at least $100,000 of the $250,000 public benefit order would be allocated to turtle research at Port Curtis, $90,000 for Conservation Volunteers Australia's Gladstone program and $60,000 for the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership.

In response to the incidents, Orica yesterday announced a $30 million upgrade to its Gladstone plant to improve its stormwater facility.

Orica pleaded guilty to four counts of contravening a condition of a development approval under the Environmental Protection Act

Mr Warfield said there was no evidence of environmental damage in Gladstone Harbour as a result of the breach and did not record a conviction.

"There is no evidence of environmental harm to the wildlife or waterways," Magistrate Warfield said.

Mr Warfield said Orica co-operated with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

The judgement comes after Orica was found to have discharged unsafe levels of cyanide into waste water.

Orica is licensed to discharge wastewater containing 1 milligram per litre of total cyanide, but it was found the company had discharged 2 milligrams per litre.

Orica alerted DERM about the exceedence on February 29, 2012.

Orica was also ordered to pay $53,101.09 in legal and investigation costs.

Both Prosecting Barrister Tim Ryan and Defence Barrister Ralph Delvin refused to comment on the case outside the Gladstone Magistrates Court yesterday.

How the case unfolded:

  • June 7, 2010-Feb 29, 2012: Orica fails to notify DERM about unauthorised released of cyanide on 50 occasions.
  • 2010:  Inspectors find unauthorised release of cyanide from Orica through stormwater during a period of heavy rain.
  • March-May 2011: Orica is found to have released cyanide-contaminated effluent on 217 occasions.
  • Jan-Feb 2012: Excessive amounts of cyanide are discharged into a water waste facility.
  • Feb 29, 2012: Orica alerts DERM of the cyanide breach.
  • June 2012: Orica issues a statement claiming there had been no threat human health or the environment as a result of the alleged incident.
  • Nov 2012: Orica pleads guilty and is charged for four environmental offences.

Topics:  gladstone magistrates court, orica




Second case against Carmichael mine dismissed

The group now wants the government to review its approval

Business closing down: Customer numbers dropped by 70%

Kelly from Mawa Exotics. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

Another business owner announced she would close her store.

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Latest deals and offers

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

Bindi's boyfriend helps release huge croc

Chandler (far right) helped the jump team.

Chandler Powell helps catch Duncan the croc

Mick Jagger to pay £2.5m to the woman carrying his baby

Mick Jagger is reportedly paying millions to pregnant ballerina

Navy man Keller ready to marry a perfect stranger

Former Navy engineer Keller is a participant in season three of Married At First Sight.

Tattoos are just the surface of Married At First Sight groom.

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"