Mining company fined for Ka¯whia diesel spill
A west coast mining company has been convicted and fined $60,750 for discharging 4000 litres of diesel into a stream last year.
The case was brought against Taharoa Ironsands Limited following multiple complaints of contamination of the Wainui Stream at their mine site near Ka¯whia in August 2017.
One resident said they had tracked the rainbowcoloured diesel fuel about 400m to the Tasman Sea.
Waikato Regional Council started a formal investigation. The council found the discharge had occurred in a high-voltage area where access was controlled.
Through a series of events, diesel had flowed from a fuel bladder into the site’s stormwater system and then into the stream.
The conviction and fine were imposed last week in the Te Ku¯ iti District Court by Judge Melanie Harland, who said the company’s activities were “careless,” and that its carelessness caused the offence.
The judge noted that the lack of clear communication, failure to follow isolation procedures and restricted access to the highvoltage area had all contributed to the breach. The council’s investigations and incident response manager, Patrick Lynch, said this was completely avoidable.
“Companies that use and store hazardous substances have to ensure they have good infrastructure and procedures in place.
“Accidents can happen. When they do, substances like fuels and oils need to be contained so they do not escape into the environment and cause harm,” he said.