EPA considers proposal for High Purity Alumina Pilot Plant, Bell Bay

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by CBM Sustainable Design Pty Ltd on behalf of Peloton Resources Pty Ltd for a High Purity Alumina Pilot Plant at Bell Bay in George Town municipality.

The proposal is to construct and operate a small pilot plant, processing red mud waste stored in a tailings storage facility at the Rio Tinto Aluminium Smelter site at Bell Bay, to extract high purity alumina and other elements for use elsewhere. Up to 15 tonnes per year of red mud is proposed to be processed, using approximately 51 tonnes of chemicals and 70 tonnes of water per annum. The pilot plant buildings are proposed to be sited immediately adjacent to the tailings storage facility.

The EPA Deputy Director, Cindy Ong, who made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board, 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 George Town Council.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly management of environmentally hazardous substances, with conditions imposed to ensure that the red mud and all chemicals used in the processing are appropriately handled and stored, and that air and water quality are protected," Ms Ong said.

No representations were received in relation to the permit application. Public consultation was open for 14 days from 30 October 2021.

The proposal was considered by the Deputy 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 EMPC Act.

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

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

The Deputy Director's environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been issued to the proponent and applicant and George Town Council.

The decision in relation to the High Purity Alumina Pilot Plant at Bell Bay can be viewed on this website.

Published on: 16/12/2021