4 Jan 2010

Department rules out Comalco compo claim

9:35 pm on 4 January 2010

The Department of Conservation will not pursue compensation from aluminium smelting company Comalco after a fire burned through 900 hectares of department land on Tiwai Peninsula, near Bluff.

The fire, which tore through protected red tussock and other native plants in October, began when a contractor hired by the smelter was spraying weeds on land it leases from the department.

Department area manager Dave Taylor says the land will take decades to regenerate fully.

Mr Taylor says the fire was caused by a malfunction in the tractor and was a complete accident.