Orica's Kooragang problems cost company $90million

ORICA’S Kooragang Island problems have cost the company $90million so far, according to half-yearly results filed this morning on the stock exchange.

Orica announed a profit of $253million after tax for the six months to the end of March, a result down by $11million on the first half of 2011.

The company said it experienced stronger and received higher prices for its mining industry products, which ‘‘partly offset a $90-million impact to earnings before interest and tax arising from loss of containment incidents at Kooragang Island’’.

‘‘The ammonia plant has now been successfully operating since February 2012 and we continue to work on improving our engagement with the local community,’’ Orica managing director and chief executive officer Ian Smith said this morning.

Orica’s problems with its Kooragang plant began with emissions of hexavalent chromium on August 8 last year, followed on August 20 by an over-limits discharge of arsenic-containing wastewater into the Hunter River.

Two rail workers were briefly hospitalised on November 9, apparently suffering the impacts of ammonia fumes traced to part of the Kooragang plant.

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