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NSW EPA fines company $15k for Muswellbrook mining blast

A mining company has been slapped with a $15,000 fine after a blast at a NSW project caused an “offensive and vile smell” to be released into the air.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority issued MACH Energy Australia with a penalty notice after the pungent-smelling blast fume at Muswellbrook’s Mount Pleasant mine on June 15.

Neighbouring properties were so badly affected by the blast that residents reported needing to seek shelter.

EPA acting director for operations Brett Nudd said blast fumes at mine sites needed to be contained within the mine boundary as they contained oxides of nitrogen which could be harmful to people’s health.

“This alleged blast happened under weather conditions that resulted in the blast fume going beyond the mine site and dispersing across neighbouring properties,” he said.

“In addition, MACH Energy Australia failed to warn their neighbours of the potential of exposure to blast fume, and members of the community were either exposed or sought shelter to avoid the blast fume.

“This incident was predictable and preventable, and the community should not have been impacted in this way.”

Mr Nudd thanked the concerned Muswellbrook residents who reported the incident.

Members of the community are encouraged to contact the EPA’s Environment Line 131 555 with reports or concerns about blasting.

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