The proposal is for relocation of a proposed silicon smelter from Picton, near Bunbury, to the Kemerton Industrial Area.
In 1986 the WA Silicon Trust prepared an Environmental Review and Management Programme (ERMP) for the establishment of a silicon production process in Western Australia. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) assessed the proposal as environmentally acceptable, subject to commitments and recommendations outlined in EPA Bulletin 279 of May 1987.
In September 1987 the new owners of the project referred to the EPA a revised proposal, described in a Public Environmental Report (PER), to locate the charcoal retorts and silicon smelter at Picton, near Bunbury. The EPA assessed this proposal and found it environmentally acceptable subject to the commitments and recommendations outlined in EPA Bulletin 326 of March 1988. In its report the EPA noted that the nearby location of Kemerton was also environmentally acceptable.
On 31 March 1988 the Deputy Premier referred to the EPA a proposal for the possible relocation of the project to the Kemerton Industrial Area.
The EPA already had detailed knowledge of the Kemerton area, and the move had the support-in-principle of the local authority. In view of the extensive, detailed and public nature of the assessment process to date and the nature of the proposed location in an established industrial area, the EPA considered there was no need for further public input. Within the Kemerton Industrial Area the proponent considered three possible sites, but on subsequent analysis two of these were ruled out, one as too low-lying, and the other as being too restrictive for the proposed aluminium smelter. The EPA's assessment was therefore directed to the remaining site, in the south west corner of the Industrial Area.