The Court found Abterra failed to pay almost $1.8 million in rehabilitation security deposits, in accordance with the conditions attached to the mining authorisation.
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 Regulator’s Chief Compliance Officer Anthony Keon said the failure to pay the outstanding security was a serious contravention and a breach of section 378D of the Mining Act.
“Environmental rehabilitation security deposits that cover the full cost of rehabilitation are required for all mining leases in NSW,” Mr Keon said.
“These security bonds ensure the NSW Government is not left with the rehabilitation bill should a mining authorisation holder default on their obligations.
“The Court’s decision in this matter sends a strong message that mine operators must comply with the requirements around rehabilitation security deposits – and this will be strictly enforced.
“This aligns with community expectations, where the right to mine is conditional on appropriate rehabilitation.”
Abterra was also ordered to pay the Regulator’s legal costs of $12,783.06.
In handing down the decision, the NSW Local Court noted that the Regulator was transparent and clear in its dealings with Abterra during the assessment and re-assessment processes as well as Abterra’s obligation to pay the security deposit.
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