13/08/2009 - 15:44

Faragher approves Freo lead exports

13/08/2009 - 15:44

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Environment Minister Donna Faragher has today approved the export of lead from Magellan Metals' Wiluna mine through the port of Fremantle.

Environment Minister Donna Faragher has today approved the export of lead from Magellan Metals' Wiluna mine through the port of Fremantle.

The approval closes a chapter in the long-running lead saga which started in late 2007 following the death of hundreds of birds and culminated into the contamination of water supplies and some people's blood streams in Esperance.

As a result, Magellan, which produced around 3 per cent of the world's lead supply, stopped production at Wiluna in early 2008 until investigations into the contamination and an alternative export method was approved.

Today, Ms Faragher said she approved several plans that Magellan, a subsidiary of Canadian company Ivernia, had prepared under stringent environmental conditions she had set last February.

She added that the health and safety of the Western Australian community was the top priority of the government.

"Importantly, all transport of lead concentrate will cease should Magellan's lead be detected in the environment along the transport route," Ms Faragher said.

"Magellan will only be allowed to transport lead carbonate in double laminated and sieve-proof bags. After being sealed, each and every bag will be inspected by an independent auditor, then placed in containers at the mine site."

The accredited auditor is Inspectorate Australia (Assay) Pty Ltd.

Ivernia chief executive Alan De'ath welcomed the approval and said the company will focus on exporting the 21,000 tonnes of lead stockpiled at the mine through the Fremantle port.

"We expect these shipments to begin during the third quarter and believe they will take approximately five to six
months to complete," Mr De'ath said.

"As the containerised shipments of the stockpiled material progress, we will continue planning for the restart of production at the Magellan Mine, which is currently anticipated early in 2010."

The approval follows the completion of 8,270t of lead carbonate exports that were stockpiled at the Esperance port.

Magellan has provided a $5 million bond to cover costs associated with any clean-up required in the event of a spill of lead along the transport route.

Mayor of Fremantle Peter Tagliaferri has long been a vocal opponent of lead carbonate exports through the port, advocating for the export of lead ingots rather than carbonate, which is a dust

 

The announcement is below:

 

Magellan Metals has been allowed to resume lead exports from its Wiluna mine in the north-west Goldfields, through the port of Fremantle.

Environment Minister Donna Faragher said today she had approved several health, hygiene and environmental management and monitoring and emergency response plans the company had prepared under stringent environmental conditions she had set last February.

"Each of these plans has been reviewed by a number of agencies including the departments of Environment and Conservation; Health; Mines and Petroleum, the Fremantle Port Authority and the Fire Emergency Services Authority," Mrs Faragher said.

"In approving the plans, I have received advice from those agencies and I am satisfied the plans meet the Ministerial conditions - the most stringent placed on a proposal of this kind."

The Minister said the health and safety of the Western Australian community was the top priority of the Liberal-National Government and this was reflected in the Ministerial conditions.

"Importantly, all transport of lead concentrate will cease should Magellan's lead be detected in the environment along the transport route," she said.

"Magellan will only be allowed to transport lead carbonate in double laminated and sieve-proof bags. After being sealed, each and every bag will be inspected by an independent auditor, then placed in containers at the mine site."

The accredited auditor is Inspectorate Australia (Assay) Pty Ltd.

Mrs Faragher said Magellan had also provided an unconditional and irrevocable bank guarantee of $5million as a bond to cover costs associated with any clean-up required in the event of a spill of lead along the transport route.

"The conditions I have set are explicit and enforceable and are over and above what the previous Labor government thought was adequate.

"It remains my very clear expectation that Magellan will not only meet the conditions but exceed them. Any transgression will be dealt with swiftly."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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