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MMG supports Minister lifting suspension of lead exports

03 Oct 2011 12:00 AMMedia Release

MMG has welcomed the decision of Minister for Transport, Troy Buswell, who today lifted the suspension of High Precious Metal (HPM) exports from Geraldton Port. The decision enables shipments to recommence on a trial basis following results of health testing and improvements to operations, infrastructure and monitoring.

In December 2010, a shipment of HPM recorded a lead dust emission at one monitor in exceedence of the port’s licence conditions during one of MMG Golden Grove’s shipments.

MMG immediately deferred shipments of HPM concentrate and began working closely with the Geraldton Port Authority (GPA), Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), the Department of Health (DoH), the Department of Transport (DoT), and independent experts to better understand dust emission from metal concentrate loading.

In addition, MMG commissioned Adjunct Professor, Dr Roger Drew, of Toxikos Toxicology, a recognised national and international expert in toxicology and health based risk assessments. He conducted an independent scientific based investigation into the community health risks of lead and the suitability of the existing lead licence limit criteria.

Following all considerations, the State Government has amended the Geraldton Port’s environmental licence to align it more closely with the values for acceptable ambient lead set by national and international agencies such as the National Environmental Protection Council and World Health Organisation.  The new limit has been set at 0.5µg/m³ as a rolling 3 month average, replacing the previous 24 hour averaging period.

A range of improved dust control measures including; tightening of wind restrictions; the introduction of loading limits; and the purchase of new compliance equipment have been implemented, along with extensive dust monitoring in an effort to ensure compliance with the revised environmental licence limit.

MMG Golden Grove General Manager, Pierre Malan today commended Minister Buswell’s decision to approve shipping of High Precious Metals from the Geraldton Port to recommence under a trial basis.

“MMG fully understood the sensitivity surrounding the situation,” Mr Malan said. “Geraldton residents can be assured that MMG have taken and will continue to take the issue very seriously.”

“MMG has worked closely with various State Departments and independent experts in undertaking a very thorough and investigative approach to this issue over a 12-month period,” he said. 

“We have arrived at a set of realistic, and most importantly, safe limits and targets in the port’s licence conditions.”

“I would like to thank the State Government and all parties involved in this process for their time, patience and effort, and I would like to reiterate that MMG Golden Grove remains committed to providing safe product stewardship in the Mid West of Western Australia.”

If residents have any questions they should call the 24 hour MMG Hotline on 08 9328 0784.

Media enquiries:

Ted Woodruff
MMG Golden Grove Communications Advisor
Phone: +61 8 9956 4595
Mobile: +61 407 434 329

Sally Cox
MMG Group Manager, Communications
Phone: +61 3 9288 0850
Mobile: +61 417 144 524

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