PETER BOND FACES TWO NEW CHARGES OVER LINC ENERGY UCG TEST SITE
Written on the 14 November 2016 by Chelsey Landford
FIVE former Linc Energy Limited executives have been charged with causing environmental damage over the operation of its underground coal gasification site in Chinchilla.
Former CEO Peter Bond was charged in September with three indictable offences and was summonsed last week on two further charges of failing to ensure Linc complied with Queensland Environmental Protection Act.Four other senior staff members Donald Schofield, Stephen Dumble, Jacobus Terblanche and Darryl Rattai were also summonsed on charges of this nature and face up to five years' imprisonment if convicted.
The former Brisbane-based ASX-listed company, which went into voluntary liquidation in April with an estimated $289 million debt to creditors, faces five charges of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm, with a combined maximum penalty of more than $8.8 million.
The actions relate to a six-year investigation by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection into the company's Hopeland operation between 2007 and 2013.The multi-million-dollar inquiry is the largest undertaken in the environmental regulator's history, and LInc has previously rebuffed its findings.
A government-commissioned study last year revealed that hundreds of square kilometres of prime agricultural soil had been permanently acidified by toxic gases alleged to have leaked from the site.
Linc has previously rebuffed the investigators' findings, and it has called the investigations a 'waste'.Environment Minister Steven Miles says formal investigations will continue and more charges could be laid.
The five former executives will appear in Dalby Magistrates Court on 29 November.
Author: Chelsey Landford