EPA recommends conditional approval for Sandy Ridge waste facility proposal

Release date: 
December 11, 2017

A proposal to develop a dual open cut kaolin (clay) mine and waste storage facility in the Goldfields has been recommended for approval by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), with strict conditions.

Tellus Holdings Limited’s Sandy Ridge proposal would establish a Kaolin clay mine as well as a waste facility, storing Class IV waste (secure landfill) and Class V (intractable waste), including non-nuclear low level radioactive waste. The facility would not receive nuclear wastes such as spent fuel from a nuclear reactor.

EPA Chairman Dr Tom Hatton said the types of non-nuclear low level radioactive waste to be accepted at the facility included end of life smoke detectors, exit signs, medical isotopes (research and treatment), sealed industrial testing equipment, and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) that has been concentrated through industrial processing.

The facility would be located 75 kilometers north east of Koolyanobbing, in the
Shire of Coolgardie and it would accept specified waste from across Australia for 25 years.

The proposed mine and waste facility requires the clearing of 276.05 hectares of native vegetation. All flora and fauna that would be impacted by the development envelope have been found outside of the disturbance footprint.

The site for the Sandy Ridge facility is geologically stable with very low seismicity, deep impermeable clay soils, it has low land erosion and its remoteness makes it suitable for a
near-surface waste geological repository.

The site is also in close proximity to the existing Class V Intractable Waste Disposal Facility at Mount Walton East which became operational in 1991.

The conditions stipulated by the EPA would see Tellus Holdings:

·         Ensure only wastes generated within Western Australia, other Australian States and Territories, and from the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone are accepted

·         Implement and maintain a detailed Waste Register to record all wastes accepted on site

·         Engage an independent auditor to undertake an annual audit of the waste disposal operations at the Sandy Ridge Facility

·         Prepare and submit a Leachate Monitoring and Management Plan that outlines monitoring procedures and protocols, including monitoring location points and frequency of monitoring.  

The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing 22 December 2017. Appeals are administered independently by the Appeals Convenor and can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au

The Minister for Environment will make the final decision.

EPA Report 1611 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au


Media Contact: Vivienne Ryan - 0400 866 450

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