Metals processing company Nyrstar will build a product recycling facility at its Port Pirie smelter to significantly reduce fugitive lead emissions and improve the long-term health of the Port Pirie community.
The South Australian Government will provide a $7 million grant, with Nyrstar to pay for the rest of the $23 million total cost of the facility.
SA Premier Stephen Marshall said he is proud that the company and the State Government have joined forces to take action to deal decisively with lead emissions and improve the health of the children of Port Pirie.
“This outstanding initiative will create 75 jobs at the peak of construction and sustain hundreds of jobs over the life of the project, delivering a significant economic boost for Port Pirie’s economy,” Marshall said.
Currently, materials are processed in an open-air environment. This area will be enclosed by a large facility that will reduce lead in air emissions by up to 25 per cent.
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The new 6850 square metre structure will store and transport feedstock materials along a covered conveyor belt to the furnace.
The facility aims to eliminate dust generated from exposed material stockpiles and in handling and transporting materials at the site. The facility will also be negatively pressured to contain fine dust particles.
Housing the storage and transport of materials in an enclosed facility prevents fine lead containing dust particles from escaping and affecting community health.
Preliminary works are expected to commence in early 2022. From approval the construction of the facility is expected to take less than 30 months to complete.
Nyrstar’s Vice President Australian Operations, Dale Webb, thanked the State Government for its support of its actions to make a significant and sustained reduction to lead in air concentrations in the community.
“We value the partnership approach to improving the health of the local community which we see as vital to securing a stronger future for metal processing in South Australia,” Webb said.
SA Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the recycling facility is a significant investment to reduce lead in blood levels of children in Port Pirie.
“Despite the previous Labor Government promising that lead issues would be a ‘thing of the past’, it’s clear their efforts were not effective,” van Holst Pellekaan said.
“Reducing lead in air requires a comprehensive approach that involves Nyrstar, the local council and the community working with the State Government to deliver a multi-pronged solution.
“We have listened to the community and improved the governance of Targeted Lead Abatement Program (TLAP) by including representation from the local council and a TLAP community reference group.”
Last month, van Holst Pellekaan announced that Nyrstar and the State Government have agreed to extend TLAP to 2034.
The SA Government also announced a $2.5 million program to upgrade 43 Housing SA dwellings with young children in the areas of Port Pirie at greatest risk of exposure. Remediation works are tailored for each property and may include sealing the homes and improving outdoor areas to remove legacy lead.