Denmark Shire hit with $31,000 fine over lime quarry

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

The Shire of Denmark has been slapped with a $31,000 fine relating to a series of breaches concerning the operation of its Ocean Beach Lime Quarry.

The Shire was forced to close the mine in October last year after coming under scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Authority, Department of Mines and Petroleum and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

The breaches that have drawn the penalty from DMP relate to issues with the environmental management plan, making operational changes before receiving consent and inappropriate treatment of topsoil.

Shire chief executive Bill Parker said the severity of the fine was a surprise.

“The size of the penalty was unexpected and it will have an impact on our budget for next year,” he said.

“In saying this, forfeiture of the lease would have been disastrous.

“Following the breach notification, staff have worked hard to prepare a new environmental management plan, mining plan and appoint a new contractor to process lime at the quarry under stringent criteria.”

The Shire’s draft budget will include the fine in its figures while it determines whether its statutory liability insurance will cover the penalty.

If the fine is not covered by insurance there is expected to be no impact on the proposed 4 per cent increase in rates for the new financial year.

Mr Parker said the Shire would look to reduce its reliance on the quarry as a source of income.

“Operation of the quarry does provide a number of challenges and we need to be mindful that we do not exhaust the resource and are left with a $190,000 annual hole in future budgets,” he said

“Over the coming years, we will look to reduce our reliance on this revenue source.

“One of the strategies being considered is to use the profit generated to complete non-operating projects in the immediate area.”

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