BHP Billiton’s Mt Arthur mine was hit with a fine last month for poor dust management, however the dollar value of the sanction amounts to no more than a slap on the wrist.
The penalty infringement notice, issued on the 27th of June by the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), was issued for ‘failure to comply with conditions of approval’ and carries a $3000 fine.
Mt Arthur Coal’s operating conditions require the mine to “implement best practice air quality management, including all reasonable and feasible measures to minimalise offsite dust emissions of the Mt Arthur complex”.
The complaint from Muswellbrook Shire Council was made on the morning of June 24.
Departmental response took place in half an hour, in time for an officer to witness trucks dumping overburden at an elevated level in windy conditions.
Mt Arthur Coal had already been warned in September 2012 for a similar incident.
The DPE has a “standalone” compliance office in Singleton to oversee the conduct of Upper Hunter coal mines, which also takes in the Gloucester, Mudgee and Gunnedah regions.
Image: Raymond Gehman