Mining company Rio Tinto was responsible for a 17-hour blackout in the remote NT community of Nhulunbuy last week, and now residents are calling for compensation.

The blackout spoiled thousands of dollars of fresh food and left residents in heat of up to 32 degrees. It started at around 10:30 PM last Thursday but wasn’t fixed until 4 PM the next day.

A bakery in the town told the ABC it lost several thousand dollars’ worth of trade, while another retailer said he’d spent over $10,000 on running an emergency generator over the past 12 months. Others say they’re worried for what might happen in the wet the weather’s more humid.

Residents say it was the fifth such blackout last week, while the company admits there have been 12 unplanned outages so far this year.

A spokesperson for Rio Tinto, which provides power to Nhulunbuy and the surrounding area, confirmed the outage was “due to multiple problems” and that the company is assessing the impact on communities.

Rio Tinto Left An NT Town Without Power For 17 Hours In 32 Degree Heat & Residents Are Pissed
The Gove alumina refinery near Nhulunbuy is run by Rio Tinto. (AAP / Tracey Nearmy)

Now local politician and Yolngu Nations Assembly representative Yingiya Guyula is calling for compensation for business who lost income during the blackout.

“For any businesses with economic hardship, Rio Tinto should provide compensation for loss of income,” he said.

“Our remote towns should have reliable and sustainable power infrastructure.”

It’s not the first fuckup on Rio Tinto’s part in recent weeks, with the company also having blown up a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site in Western Australia last month.

The company has ignored calls for compensation in both instances.

Image: Flickr / gblack571 / CC-BY-SA