The West

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has rejected claims that tailing ponds at his north Queensland nickel refinery will burst during the upcoming wet season.

WWF Australia spokesman Nick Heath said three ponds containing toxic industrial waste at Queensland Nickel's Yabulu refinery near Townsville were already at capacity and could collapse when seasonal storms hit, creating a major environmental disaster.

But Mr Palmer said Yabulu staff had worked to reduce waste in the tailing ponds.

"Firstly, the tailing facility is now approximately 2,000 million litres less than in July 2012, a reduction of 22 per cent," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"This is being achieved by the diligent and hard work of our staff who need to be congratulated."

Mr Palmer also hit out a local television station in Townsville, saying he had given them an interview explaining the situation, but it wasn't aired.

"They chose not to run the current interview they received because they were primarily concerned about misinformation and not the news," he said.

Mr Heath has described the tailing ponds as a "ticking time bomb".

"The government needs to urgently reveal how it plans to fix this," he said.

The state government says its Environment and Heritage Protection department is talking with Queensland Nickel to address water management issues.

The West Australian

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