Extract from ABC NewsExclusive by the national reporting team's Mark Willacy
Updated about an hour ago
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Mining giant Adani faces a possible multi-million-dollar fine after sediment water eight times above authorised levels was discharged from the Abbot Point coal terminal last month, the ABC can reveal.
- Coal-laden water passed through monitoring location adjacent to Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area
- Water was discharged from Adani's Abbot Point coal terminal
- Environment Department said Adani advised it of
"non-compliant" release of site water
But sources have told the ABC coal-laden water, exceeding authorised limits, passed through a monitoring location at the terminal called W2.
W2 is situated on the northern marine side of the terminal, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.
The Environment Department confirmed Adani advised it of a "non-compliant release" of site water.
"The TEL authorised total suspended solids releases of up to 100 milligrams per litre," Environment Department director-general Jim Reeves said.
"However, Adani Abbot Point Bulkcoal provided a report to EHP [the department] on 24 April advising it had a water discharge on 30 March from a licensed point on the northern side of the terminal, containing 806mg/L of sediment."
The department says it will consider compliance action against the company over the release.
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"There are serious penalties for corporations whose non-compliance with their environmental authorities or temporary emissions licences causes environmental harm, including fines of up to $3.8 million if the non-compliance was wilful, or $2.7 million if the non-compliance was unintentional," Mr Reeves said."Even with a licence to pollute in its back pocket, Adani has still managed to exceed the permitted discharge of contaminants by 800 per cent," the Mackay Conservation Group's Peter MacCallum said."This is one more sign Adani's mine should not proceed."Mr Reeves said Adani told the department none of the site water reached the marine environment or the adjoining Caley Valley wetlands, which is home to 40,000 shore birds.Last month, a spokesman for Adani said the company believed it had acted, "within the requirements of the temporary emissions licence", a position backed at the time by the department.Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane accused the ABC and Fairfax of rolling out "fake news" over claims by conservationists contaminants had been released from the Abbot Point terminal.The Environment Department is conducting its own investigation into the possible release of contaminants from Abbot Point, with samples sent to a laboratory for testing.The department was provided aerial imagery suggesting, "there was sediment-laden water flowing from the port into the [Caley Valley wetland].""EHP will prepare a full report on its investigations which will provide the basis for decisions on what, if any, compliance action will occur," the department said.