Judy Edwards

Judy Edwards

Former Minister for the Environment; Science

    New licence conditions on Alcoa's Kwinana refinery

    11/01/2005 2:00 PM

    Tough new conditions have been placed on Alcoa’s operating licence at its alumina refinery in Kwinana.

    Environment Minister Judy Edwards has determined the outcome of appeals on Alcoa’s licence and made the following changes:
    • Alcoa will implement a program for further monitoring and analysis of dust emissions from residue disposal areas;
    • the Department of Environment will review Alcoa’s groundwater monitoring program to see if it needs to include a broader range of potential contaminants;
    • the Department of Environment will pursue with Alcoa a proposal for an Environmental Improvement Plan, focused on dust, odour and other refinery emissions;
    • soil contaminated from spillages will no longer be disposed to F lake, but sent to an appropriately lined residue disposal area; and
    • conditions to minimise the risk of future spills and ensure they are appropriately contained.
    “Although the spills were not raised in the written appeals in detail, they were the subject of discussion with the appellants and Alcoa,” Dr Edward said.

    “They are of considerable concern to me and the Department of Environment has commissioned an independent and comprehensive audit and review of recent spills at the site, which is currently under way.

    “The audit is expected to provide an explanation of the cause of these incidents, to try and determine if there is a systemic reason for their frequency. It will also make recommendations to prevent such incidents in the future and this may lead to further changes to Alcoa’s licence.”

    The Minister said Alcoa’s licence had also been changed in September, 2004 to include a risk-based assessment of chemical containment facilities.

    “The regulation of Alcoa’s operations at Kwinana is overseen by two Government agencies, the Department of Environment and the Department of Industry and Resources,” she said.

    “I have written to the State Development Minister to ensure there is a consistent and complementary approach between the two agencies on these matters.

    “In particular, the Government needs to ensure Alcoa is able to improve its spills record, particularly in regard to the bunding of areas used in chemical storage.”

    Dr Edwards said the department would now draw up the new licence conditions in accordance with the Minister’s appeal determinations.

    Minister's office: 9220 5050