EARLIER this week, the SOUTH Australian Government and OneSteel announced a mutual agreement on tough new environmental conditions.
Minister for Mineral Resources Development Paul Holloway, said the conditions complement OneSteel’s actions through its $395 million Project Magnet to streamline the Whyalla Steelworks’ operation and to cut dust emissions to within accepted limits by 2011.
“This major investment by OneSteel in Project Magnet aims to dramatically reduce the impact of red dust by shifting the crushing and screening facilities from Whyalla to its mine site at Iron Duke, convert the pellet process from dry to wet and increase containment in materials handling,” Holloway said.
Holloway says Primary Industries and Resources SA (PIRSA) and OneSteel, in consultation with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), negotiated the new conditions that are to be enshrined in the company’s indenture.
The Whyalla Steelworks manufactures 1.2 million tonnes of steel each year and employs more than 3,000 people directly and as contractors.
Holloway says Project Magnet will benefit the local economy by extending the life of the steelworks until at least 2027 while the dust targets will improve the amenity for all residents of the east end of Whyalla.
Operation Magnet will allow the current mining operations to increase from about 3 million tonnes per year to 9 million tonnes per year, boosting exports from South Australia.
New indenture conditions agreed with OneSteel will restrict the number of days the Whyalla steelworks is permitted to emit elevated levels of PM10 fine dust*.
Binding conditions of the OneSteel indenture will restrict the days it exceeds this limit (from around 30 days a year currently) to 10 days a year in 2008, reducing to five days a year by 2011.
These stricter requirements negotiated with OneSteel will be incorporated in its indenture, which needs to be formalised by State Parliament.
Minister for Environment Gail Gago said: “OneSteel is to report monthly to the State Government on its compliance including an explanation for any breach of the emission limits and details of any remedial action taken.”
“In addition, any breach of the indenture will result in a range of enforcement actions, including orders being issued, and fines of up to $120,000.”