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EPA considers proposal for a Bio-chemical Plant at the Boyer Pulp and Paper Mill

31 May 2016

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed Bio-chemical Plant at Norske Skog’s Boyer Pulp and Paper Mill.

Norske Skog Boyer intends to operate a prototype chemical plant for the production of a new solvent, Cyrene, from wood waste. Cyrene has the potential to replace some existing industrial solvents which are earmarked for phasing out by the European Parliament due to their high toxicity and likely interference with human reproduction. The Company intends to produce 50 tonnes of Cyrene per year for up to 3 years at the plant with the aim of proving commercial viability for a much larger operation.

The EPA Director, Wes Ford, who made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board, concluded the proposed chemical works could be developed and managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. These conditions will be included in an Environment Protection Notice issued by the EPA.

Mr Ford said the development proposal was referred to the EPA Board by Norske Skog in February 2016 and that no representations were received in relation to it, following the 14 day public consultation period which commenced on 9 April 2016.

“Various environmental issues were considered in the assessment, particularly the potential for effluent to impact on the Derwent River,” Mr Ford said.

“It was determined that effluent generated by the chemical plant can be readily treated using Norske Skog’s existing wastewater treatment infrastructure such that it would be unlikely to have any identifiable impact on the Derwent River,” he said.

“Nevertheless conditions have been imposed requiring ongoing characterisation of effluent to be generated by the activity and determination of its biodegradability and toxicity,” said Mr Ford.

The proposal was considered by the Director in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).

The functions of the EPA are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, and in particular to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania, and to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives.

The Director undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the EMPCA.

The decision by the EPA Director can be viewed on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments