Xstrata subsidiary charged over NT fuel spill

A subsidiary of Swiss mining giant Xstrata is facing a fine of more than $1 million for leaking thousands of litres of fuel at a Northern Territory mine.

McArthur River Mining (MRM) notified the NT Department of Resources in May last year that a leak had been detected from a pipe connected to the main fuel storage area at its zinc mine at Borroloola.

A statement from the department said the valve was believed to have been open for nearly two days and it was estimated more than 27,000 litres of diesel had leaked into the ground.

The NT government slapped MRM with a complaint of serious environmental harm, which if proved would mean a maximum penalty of $1.05 million.

The matter was brought before the Darwin Magistrates Court last week.

MRM general manager Ettienne Moller said the company would address in court the matters raised in the government's complaint.

"McArthur River Mining has confirmed receiving a complaint and summons by the Northern Territory government in relation to a diesel fuel leak on site during 2011," the company said.

The McArthur River mine supplies 70 per cent of global demand for high grade bulk zinc/lead/silver concentrate, according to the company's website.

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