BlueScope resumes production at the Port Kembla Steelworks Sinter Plant following EPA approval


BlueScope has restarted the Sinter Plant at the Port Kembla Steelworks after obtaining the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) conditional approval.

Port Kembla Steelworks
Image credit: flickr user: Terry Cooke

Giselle Howard, EPA’s Director for the Metropolitan region, said EPA has granted the conditional approval after carefully considering any potential risks to the community in consultation with NSW Health and an initial health analysis by independent clinical toxicologist and Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health at the University of Wollongong, Professor Alison Jones.

“This decision was not made lightly and involved expertise from the EPA and NSW Health and included detailed analysis by world renowned Toxicologist, Professor Alison Jones an internationally recognised expert on health risk assessment. BlueScope approached the EPA with a proposal to restart the sinter plant on Tuesday,” Ms Howard said.

”Their proposal involves recommissioning an existing stack for an interim period until they can re-establish the waste gas cleaning plant, which had its stack destroyed by fire earlier in the week.”

She said the EPA approval was conditioned on satisfaction of certain requirements on the part of BlueScope, such as implementing strict monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure that the health of nearby residents and the environment is protected.

“The EPA notice adds new conditions to the BlueScope Licence which include the timely provision of air quality data to the community, the verification of predicted emissions, the establishment of a community consultative committee, and the preparation of a Health Risk Assessment,” said Ms Howard.

“In addition to BlueScope’s monitoring the EPA will be undertaking its own independent analysis and will have monitoring data from a site operated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).”

BlueScope said the Sinter Plant will be operating under a temporary reconfiguration until the Waste Gas Cleaning Plant can be recommissioned, which is likely to take around 6-8 weeks.

The company will monitor emissions and maintain close consultation with EPA and the community.