The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Tartana Resources Limited for the Zeehan Zinc Project – Stage 1 on Henty Road, Zeehan, in West Coast Council.
The proposal involves the extraction of 335,000 tonnes of zinc-rich smelter slag from a historic stockpile at the former Tasmanian Smelters site. The stockpile has remained on the site since smelting operations ceased in 1948. Tartana Resources Limited currently holds a permit for the recovery of 100,000 tonnes of smelter slag at the site, for commercial sale. This proposal seeks to increase the production limit to 140,000m3 per annum, in order to extract the remaining slag inventory in the South Stockpile over the next two years.
The EPA Director, Mr Wes Ford, made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board. He concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The Board requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the West Coast Council.
“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly measures to avoid disturbing the historic tailings present on the site, and prevent any associated water quality risks," said Mr Ford.
“The environmental conditions imposed on the proposal will address this issue by limiting the depth to which extraction can occur, and obliging the proponent to rehabilitate the site on cessation," he said.
No representations were received in relation to the permit application. Public consultation was open for a 14 day period from 27 February 2021.
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, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and, in particular, to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania.
The Director undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of EMPCA.
The Director's environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been issued to the proponent and West Coast Council for their information.
The decision by the EPA Director can be viewed on the EPA website at https://epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/assessments/tartana-resources-limited-zeehan-zinc-stage-1