Representatives of Nathan River Resources appeared before Darwin Local Court for a second hearing over pollution charges.
The NT Environment Department has accused NRR of failing to comply with the conditions of its waste discharge licence at its Ngukurr mine.
It will be alleged that the unlawful release of 10.86 megalitres of potentially contaminated water into the Towns River, which flows into the Limmen Bight Marine Park in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
from NT News 20.4.22
MORE time is needed to evaluate if an iron ore mine accused of dumping ten million litres of potentially contaminated water into a national marine park was in breach of its licence.
Representatives of Nathan River Resources appeared before Darwin Local Court on Wednesday for a second hearing over pollution charges.
The NT Environment Department has accused NRR of failing to comply with the conditions of its waste discharge licence at its open-pit mine, 60km southeast of Ngukurr.
The department accused the giant mining company of unlawfully releasing 10.86 megalitres of water – enough to fill four Olympic swimming pools – over a six hour period on February 24, 2021.
It will be alleged the potentially contaminated water was released from the Danehill West pit into the Towns River, which flows into the Limmen Bight Marine Park in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
A 2021 monitoring report released by Nathan River Mine said this was the second “non-compliant discharge event” from that month, with the iron ore mine facing legal strife over the location of the release.
The Nathan River Mine report said the release of 10,860,000L of water was not from an “authorised discharge point” and “due to an operational oversight, it was not reported to the NT EPA at that time”.
The NT News understands the alleged unlawful release point was 400m upstream from the agreed point.
In March, a mine spokesman said the company was authorised to discharge mine pit water in accordance with the conditions of its Waste Discharge Licence.
“NRR maintains a comprehensive environmental monitoring program and is confident that no serious environmental harm has occurred,” he said.
However, the annual report said the two February discharge events “may have contributed an additional 30 per cent to contaminant loads recorded” – including aluminium, arsenic, chromium, cobalt, iron, and zinc rates higher than background levels.
The contaminant levels are not believed to be part of the Environment Department’s criminal investigation.
On Thursday representatives of the mining giant and the government appeared before Judge Ben O’Loughlin.
Northern Territory government solicitor Nam Long Ha said more time was needed for both sides to prepare their case and come to a resolution.