Nyrstar smelter licence extended for 12 months

Nyrstar smelter licence extended for 12 months

The licence of Nyrstar's smelter in Port Pirie has been renewed for 12 months, and has been set to reduce lead in air LIA emissions.

The license issued by the South Australian Environment Protection Authority EPA called for a 37.5 per cent cut in average annual LIA emissions down to 0.25 g sqm micrograms per cubic metre, but this wouldn't be enforced under the licence.

The maximum LIA limit of 0.4 g sqm, introduced in 2020, would remain in place.

The EPA chief executive Tony Circelli said the past year had the best emissions outcome from Nyrstar over recent years. The smelter reported an 8 per cent LIA reduction compared to the previous year.

It will be a non-enforceable goal for Nyrstar to consider its ongoing performance and the need for further investment and improvement for the operations, according to Circelli.

Nyrstar national vice-president Dale Webb said that LIA reduction was a priority for the company.

He said over the coming months we have more activities including better on-site road cleaning, major recladding of buildings and stockpile reductions.

The state government is funding the construction of a $23 million product recycling facility to reduce LIA concentrations this year.

Susan Close, Deputy Premier and Minister for the Environment and Industry, toured the plant ahead of the new licence implementation.

Our conversations will be about what they are doing to get to the goal of 0.25 g m 3 rather than sitting under the hard limit of 0.4 g m 3 that sits in their licence, according to Ms Close.

I have every reason to think that they will be able to make me feel very confident that they will be able to meet that goal, as well as be under the limit.

We want to be assured that this smelter will work financially, but we also need to be assured that the health of people, particularly children, is assured into the future. The licence would require Nyrstar to submit a plan of action to reduce wastewater emissions to the EPA by December 2, with a focus on cadmium, zinc and lead.

Australia ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury last year, which would require the company to assess mercury generation and emissions from site operations.