MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Mining company fined for air pollution

Published by MAC on 2004-12-23


Mining company fined for air pollution

December 23, 2004

ABC News

A Perth magistrate has imposed a $60,000 fine on mining company Alcoa for polluting the air around its Wagerup refinery.

Alcoa pleaded guilty to the pollution charge that related to Bauxite residue dust blowing over Wagerup and Yarloop, south of Perth, in November 2002.

Twenty-two people reported suffering flu-like symptoms as a result of the dust.

Magistrate Ivan Brown took into consideration that Alcoa had spent millions of dollars upgrading its alarm and sprinkler systems, some of which were not operating on the day of the incident.

Alcoa was also ordered to pay $10,000 in court costs.

The chairman of a local resident action group, Tony Hall, says the $60,000 fine is not enough.

"We're not that impressed by it. There's been over 5,000 complaints against this operation. Half a million dollars is chump change to that sort of a company," he said.

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