Sibelco fined $15,000 for alleged failures at Swan Bay clay mine

Sibelco Australia Limited has been fined $15,000 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority and issued with an Official Caution for alleged environmental breaches at its Swan Bay clay mine at Port Stephens.

The alleged offences came to light during an EPA compliance inspection on 23 January this year.

The Swan Bay clay mine has ceased operating and is being rehabilitated. During the inspection, an EPA officer looked at whether Sibelco had failed to maintain and rehabilitate the site in a competent manner.

EPA Acting Director Hunter Mitchell Bennett said the company had also allegedly caused water pollution.

“Sampling done on the day by the EPA indicate the total suspended solids concentration in waters on the site exceeded licence limits.

“Further EPA investigations discovered several alleged inadequacies in Sibelco’s environmental management systems relating to inadequate surface water monitoring, poor contractor supervision and poor erosion and sediment controls across the premises.

“The EPA considers these breaches to be serious and will continue to monitor Sibelco’s activities,” Mr Bennett said.

The EPA issued Sibelco a $15,000 Penalty Notice for an alleged failure to comply with its licence conditions and issued an Official Caution for alleged water pollution.

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. In this instance the EPA issued a penalty notice and an official caution. The notice recipient may pay the penalty notice, seek a review, or elect to have the matter determined by a court.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Tags: