09/01/2019 - 16:10

Feds approve mine, waste storage in outback WA

09/01/2019 - 16:10

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Plans for a kaolin mine and low level nuclear waste storage facility in the Shire of Coolgardie have taken a step forward, after Sydney-based Tellus Holdings received approval from the federal environmental regulator for the project.

Feds approve mine, waste storage in outback WA
The mine will be about 75 kilometres north-east of Koolyanobbing.

Plans for a kaolin mine and low level nuclear waste storage facility in the Shire of Coolgardie have taken a step forward, after Sydney-based Tellus Holdings received approval from the federal environmental regulator for the project.

The Sandy Ridge project, previously estimated to cost about $62 million, was given 15 conditions by the Department of Environment and Energy when approved on Monday.

The mine will produce 290,000 tonnes annually of kaolin clay, basically an alumina silicate used in ceramics and for other purposes.

The pit will also become a site for 100,000tpa of class three and four hazardous waste over a 25-year period, but only from Australian sources.

Reportedly, that will include naturally radioactive material extracted through oil and gas production.

State Environmental Protection Authority approval was granted in June, and the company signed a debt funding package for the project on Christmas Eve, although further details were not specified at the time.

A final investment decision on Sandy Ridge was made in October last year.

Tellus managing director Duncan van der Merwe said up to 100 jobs would be created during construction and a further 80 operational jobs at peak.

“Tellus has a policy of buying local and hiring local and most opportunities that will be advertised will start during 2019,” he said.

The facility provides much-needed sustainable infrastructure that can help clean up country, support the circular economy, create jobs and generate business opportunities.

“Australia is one of the largest emitters of hazardous waste on a per-capita basis," Mr van der Merwe said.

“A massive legacy stockpile has built-up across WA and the country as there is insufficient world’s best practice infrastructure at competitive price points.”

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