17/01/2008 - 15:12

State puts more conditions on Magellan's Freo lead bid

17/01/2008 - 15:12

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The state government has imposed a raft of additional conditions on Magellan Metals before it can proceed with its bid to ship containerised lead through Fremantle.

The state government has imposed a raft of additional conditions on Magellan Metals before it can proceed with its bid to ship containerised lead through Fremantle.

Magellan was suspended from exporting its lead from Esperance port in March last year after thousands of bird deaths in the region were linked to lead dust pollution.

Environment minister David Templeman said the additional conditions, including the lodgement of a $5 million bond and the appointment of an independent auditor to inspect each bag and container at the Wiluna mine and Fremantle port, were unprecedented for any proposal and were beyond world best practice.

The conditions also require Magellan to comple a comprehensive health, hygiene and environmental management plan to the requirement of the minister, and baseline testing to be conducted along the route prior to the first movement of lead and then regularly after that.

The government said the lead must be sealed inside double-laminated bulk bags at the mine site, vacuumed to remove any dust and then locked inside shipping containers, with Magellan subject to a full performance review after the first 18 months, to determine whether the shipments can continue.

In December, Mr Templeman accepted the Environmental Protection Authority's decision to allow the miner to export lead from the port in bulk bags, contingent on Magellan meeting a series of risk-reduction conditions for packing and transporting the lead, as well as requirements for air and soil quality monitoring.

Mr Templeman said all the conditions would ensure that what occurred in Esperance would not be repeated.

"We have learned our lessons from what happened in Esperance and the differences between this proposal and what occurred there are stark," he said.

"At Esperance there was bulk loading of a drier material in an open conveyer system. The material was transported in loosely covered bins. Such a proposal would never be approved today.

"This proposal means the lead is locked away at the mine site and it stays that way."

The government has also provided additional annual funding of $1.3 million to the Department of Environment and Conservation for compliance monitoring.

Mr Templeman conceded today that DEC and Magellan had a significant task ahead to regain the confidence of the community but he was satisfied they would be able to do that through the proper management of the project.

In response, Magellan said today it accepted the additional conditions and was committed to their implementation prior to commencing sealed shipment of the lead product from its Wiluna mine site.

The company said the additional conditions would further assure Western Australia's communities, governments and regulators that the export process would be safe and effective.

Magellan said it was unable to give a date for the commencement of sealed shipments from its mine site, nor for the recommencement of mining operations.

A parliamentary inquiry into the environmental contamination was held last year, with a report tabled in parliament in September attributing responsibility to the Department of Environment and Conservation, the Esperance Port Authority, Magellan, and trucking company BIS Industrial Logistics.

 

The full government announcement and Magellan Metals response appear below:

Environment Minister David Templeman today announced that Magellan Metals must implement a raft of tough conditions before the shipment of containerised lead through Fremantle could proceed.

Mr Templeman accepted the recommendations of the Environmental Protection Authority in December last year that the shipment could proceed under a number of strict conditions, but considered that extra conditions were needed to ensure the protection of the community.

"As a result I have demanded the company accept and comply with a number of conditions before I will allow the proposal to proceed," he said.

"These conditions are unprecedented for any proposal and are beyond world best practice."

They are:

- lodgement of a $5million bond;
- the appointment of an independent auditor approved by the Minister and funded by Magellan to inspect each bag and container at the mine and the port;
- the completion of a comprehensive health, hygiene and environmental management plan to be prepared to the requirement of the Minister, on advice from the Department of Health, the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection, the Department of Industry and Resources and the Department of Environment and Conservation; and
- baseline testing to be conducted along the route prior to the first movement of lead and then regularly after that.

In addition, the following conditions must be adhered to:

- the lead must be sealed inside double-laminated bulk bags at the mine site, vacuumed to remove any dust and then locked inside shipping containers;
- every bag and container to be inspected and verified at the mine and the port;
- the installation of dust monitors in randomly selected containers by the independent auditor at the mine and checked at the port for the presence of dust;
- monitoring reports and independent auditor reports to be published and reported to the Fremantle Port Authority's Inner Harbour Community Liaison Group;
- Magellan subject to a full performance review after the first 18 months, to determine whether the shipments can continue; and
- Magellan's chief executive must personally sign off on environmental compliance under the State Government's tough accountability measures.

Mr Templeman said he would not allow the proposal to proceed until these conditions were met.

The Minister also made it clear that, given the company's record, he and the Director General of the Department of Environment and Conservation would not hesitate to use the powers available under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 to require the operation to cease at short notice.

Mr Templeman said these conditions would ensure that what occurred in Esperance would not be repeated.

"We have learned our lessons from what happened in Esperance and the differences between this proposal and what occurred there are stark," he said.

"At Esperance there was bulk loading of a drier material in an open conveyer system. The material was transported in loosely covered bins. Such a proposal would never be approved today.

"This proposal means the lead is locked away at the mine site and it stays that way.

"The Carpenter Government has also provided additional annual funding of $1.3million to the Department of Environment and Conservation for compliance monitoring to ensure projects like these are subject to the scrutiny the community expects.

"I concede that DEC and this company have a huge task ahead to regain the confidence of the community and I am satisfied they will be able to do that through the proper management of this project.

"These tough conditions take into account the concerns expressed by the local member, the Mayor and the community and they will ensure that what happened in Esperance cannot happen again.

"This is a decision I have not taken lightly but I am satisfied that if these conditions are agreed to and adhered to that this can be done safely without any risk to the community."

 

MAGELLAN WELCOMES MINISTER'S DECISION ON CONTAINERISED SHIPMENTS

Magellan Metals ("Magellan") welcomes the acceptance by the Environment Minister, Hon. David Templeman, of the Environmental Protection Authority's recommendations regarding the sealed shipment process for the export of lead concentrate.

In accepting the recommendations, the Minister also imposed additional conditions that will further assure Western Australia's communities, governments and regulators that the export process will be safe and effective.

Magellan has accepted the additional conditions and is committed to their implementation prior to commencing sealed shipment of its product from its Wiluna mine site.

Accordingly, Magellan is unable to give a date at this time for the commencement of sealed shipments from its mine site, nor for the recommencement of mining operations.

The Minister's conditions include:
1. the lodgement of a A$5 million bond
2. the appointment of an independent auditor approved by the Minister and funded by Magellan to inspect each bag and container at the mine and the Port
3. the completion of a comprehensive Health, Hygiene and Environmental Management plan to be prepared to the requirement of the Minister, on advice from the Department of Health, the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection, the Department of Industry & Resources and the Department of Environment & Conservation
4. Baseline testing to be conducted along the route prior to the first movement of lead and then regularly after that

Magellan will fully meet all Ministerial conditions, and in addition commits to:
1. implementing a comprehensive information and support programme with local authorities and community groups along the transportation route to ensure a thorough understanding of lead concentrate, its transportation process and the emergency response plan for the immediate containment and rapid and complete clean up in the unlikely event of an accident creating a spill
2. transparent communication of monitoring results and compliance reporting in an easily accessible manner
3. continuing its community information programme

The containerised method of transport for lead concentrate is a completely different method from the current industry standard of bulk transport. It is an inherently safe process that includes independent validation on the integrity of the shipment process and no re-handling of material once the material leaves the mine site.

Magellan's shipment method will involve sealing lead concentrate inside bulk bags which will then be bolt-locked inside steel shipping containers and transported from Wiluna to Fremantle and overseas. Independent inspection and verification of the bag filling, container loading and container and vehicle cleaning procedures at the mine site will ensure the integrity of the shipment process. The company believes this method creates a new world standard of industry best practice for the safe handling and transport of lead concentrate.

Magellan is continuing to work closely with the Esperance Port Authority and the WA Departments of Environment and Conservation, Health, and Consumer and Employment Protection to finalise the proposal for safe removal of the remaining concentrate stockpile at the Port of Esperance. This concentrate will be exported in sealed bags through the Port of Esperance using a process to be approved by the relevant regulatory authorities.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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