4th September 2018

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Resources Regulator has commenced prosecution proceedings against the holders of mining lease ML1616, located approximately 18 kilometres west of Cowra, for failing to comply with a condition of its mining authorisation.

The Regulator will allege that Abterra Australia Pty Ltd failed to pay almost $1.8 million in security deposits, in accordance with the conditions attached to the mining authorisation.

The Regulator will also allege that Abterra’s directors failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent or stop Abterra committing the offence under the executive liability provisions of the Mining Act 1992 (NSW).

Following a review of the mining lease rehabilitation liability in 2017, the Department increased the security deposit for the site. The review determined that the security deposit for the site should be increased from $332,600 to $2,129,000.

The failure of the company to deposit the increased security constitutes a breach of section 378D of the Act. A breach of section 378D of the Act is an offence attracting liability for the directors of Abterra in accordance with section 378F of the Act.

The maximum penalty for breaching section 378D of the Act is $1,100,000 for a corporation. The proceedings were commenced in the Local Court and, as such, the maximum penalty that can be awarded by the Local Court is $220,000.

The maximum penalty that can be awarded against each director for breaching section 378F of the Act is $220,000.

The Regulator had previously issued a direction on 7 March suspending mining operations at the site due to compliance concerns.

The matters have been listed for mention in the Downing Centre Local Court on 10 September 2018.

As the matter is now before the court, further details will not be released.