Palmer refinery records ammonium 'breach'


Clive Palmer's embattled north Queensland nickel refinery could face enforcement action from the government after two creeks were found to contain elevated levels of ammonia.

Queensland Nickel Sales, which manages the Yabulu plant, tested water in Alick and Blind creeks on Tuesday and informed the government the following day that high ammonia levels were detected, in excess of what its environmental licence allowed.

The Department of Environment has taken its own samples and says the results should be known early next week.

But Environment Minister Steven Miles said no reports of any environmental harm associated with the potential breach have been reported.

"We're not yet in a position to confirm the extent of any contamination or, if it did occur, where from the refinery the contamination may have come," he said.

Ammonia is one of the contaminants in the refinery's tailings storage facility, which is unlined and generates seepage.

Mr Palmer has said the operation will not fully open again until the end of July, and even then it would only be up and running if his list of five demands were met.

That included the granting of all government licences.

In the meantime, the jobs of about 550 workers remain in limbo.