EPA makes formal request for information

September 17, 2015

THE Victorian Environmental Protection Authority has formally requested information from mineral sands mining company Iluka Resources to aid its assessment of a works approval for continued waste disposal at Douglas.

The EPA has also requested that Iluka install additional water bores around ‘Pit 23’ at Douglas, about 85 kilometres north of Hamilton, where the company intends on burying 2.2 million tonnes of waste over 20 years.

Iluka has said previously that its Hamilton Mineral Separation Plant, a major local employer, needs a suitable disposal location to remain viable.

However, members of the Kanagulk Landcare Group have a long standing opposition to the move due to concerns that low-level radioactive waste contained in the by-products could affect local groundwater.

EPA Vic released a statement on Tuesday that said it had “formally requested” information from Iluka after reviewing its application and independent reports.

An Iluka statement said that “Request for Further Information by the EPA is a well-established part of the approvals process. Iluka is working with the EPA to provide the information requested as soon as possible.”

EPA said it also considered “expert views of specialist staff” at a number of State Government departments and a summary report from a community conference held in Balmoral last month.

A copy of the letter sent by EPA to Iluka’s project manager stated the authority requested complete “groundwater borelog and monitoring data”, groundwater risk assessments, surface water monitoring data, soil and dust sampling,

The EPA has also requested copies of internal Iluka reports on some of its mining operations going back to 2001.

The letter states “a discussion of the site and regional groundwater chemistry and potential for enhanced mobility of solutes in groundwater is required.”

The EPA said its assessment of Douglas may be delayed if it does not receive the information it has requested by September 18.

The EPA’s website states that Iluka’s “by-product waste disposal activities do not pose a risk to human health or the environment and are appropriately controlled and managed”.