REPORT TO THE MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT ... Appeals Convenor Environmental Protection Act 1986 REPORT

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Transcript of REPORT TO THE MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT ... Appeals Convenor Environmental Protection Act 1986 REPORT

  • Appeals Convenor Environmental Protection Act 1986

    REPORT TO THE MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT

    APPEAL IN OBJECTION TO THE CONDITIONS OF LICENCE

    L6593/1995/8, KEMERTON SILICA SAND MINE, LOT 32 ON DIAGRAM 63554 AND LOT 501 ON DIAGRAM 75016, RHODES ROAD,

    WOKALUP, SHIRE OF HARVEY

    PROPONENT: KEMERTON SILICA SANDS PTY LTD

    Appeal number 001 of 2013

    December 2013

  • Kemerton Silica Sand Mine, Wokalup Appeals Convenor’s Report Kemerton Silica Sand Pty Ltd December 2013

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    Appeal summary

    This report relates an appeal lodged by Kemerton Silica Sands Pty Ltd (KSS) (the licensee) in objection to the Department of Environment Regulation (DER) (formally the Department of Environment and Conservation) conditions of Licence L6593/1995/8 (the licence). This report provides the Appeals Convenor’s recommendations to the Minister for Environment in respect to the appeal and is given under section 109(3) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (the EP Act). KSS operates a sand dredging mine approximately 35 kilometres north-east of Bunbury, where the main emission from the process is the discharge of ROM stacker overflow and process tailings into the dredge pond. Previously the licence required groundwater monitoring, however this has subsequently been removed to avoid duplication with the groundwater licence. Broadly the appellant’s concerns related to the new requirement to monitor discharge quantity and quality to the dredge pond, where for the first time DER also introduced targets and limits. In addition the appellant raised concerns regarding improvements requirements specified in the licence relating to Total Dissolved Salts. The appeal investigation has focused on the matters raised in the appeal and whether the conditions of the licence are adequate or appropriate to minimise, manage or abate emissions and discharges. Specifically the investigation has looked at the DER’s assessment of emissions and discharges using the emissions risk reduction matrix to determine whether limits and targets are required for the premises. Recommendation

    For the reasons stated in this report, it is recommended that the appeal is upheld to the extent that the licence is modified as follows: 1. After a review of the assessment of emissions and discharges, the point source emission

    limits to surface water are removed from the licence; 2. An exceedance of a target requires the licensee to undertake a management response; 3. Target values are reviewed after 12 months of actual monitoring data have been collected

    and the licence amended where appropriate, including a review of the requirement for limits;

    4. As recommended by the DER, the EC limits and targets are removed from Tables 2.3.2 and 2.3.3 in the licence (the licensee is not precluded from monitoring EC); and

    5. As recommended by the DER, Condition 1.3.3, relating to pipelines, is removed from the licence.

  • Kemerton Silica Sand Mine, Wokalup Appeals Convenor’s Report Kemerton Silica Sand Pty Ltd December 2013

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................... 1

    BACKGROUND ........................................................................................................... 1

    APPEALS PROCESS .................................................................................................. 2

    GROUNDS OF APPEAL AND OUTCOMES SOUGHT ............................................... 3

    GROUND 1 – ROM STACKER OVERFLOW .............................................................. 3

    GROUND 2 – WATER QUALITY LIMITS .................................................................... 5

    GROUND 3 – TARGET VALUES ................................................................................ 8

    GROUND 4 – IMPROVEMENT REFERENCE ........................................................... 13

    GROUND 5 – VOLUMETRIC FLOW RATE ............................................................... 15

    GROUND 6 – PIPELINES .......................................................................................... 16

    OFFICE OF THE EPA ADVICE ................................................................................. 16

    CONSIDERATION AND RECOMMENDATION ......................................................... 18

    CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................... 25

  • Kemerton Silica Sand Mine, Wokalup Appeals Convenor’s Report Kemerton Silica Sand Pty Ltd December 2013

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    INTRODUCTION This report relates an appeal lodged by Kemerton Silica Sands Pty Ltd (the licensee) in objection to the Department of Environment Regulation (DER) (formally the Department of Environment and Conservation) conditions of Licence L6593/1995/8 (the licence). This report provides the Appeals Convenor’s recommendations to the Minister for Environment in respect to the appeal and is given under section 109(3) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (the EP Act). BACKGROUND Kemerton Silica Sand Pty Ltd (KSS) operates a sand dredging mine approximately 35 kilometres (km) north-east of Bunbury (see Figure 1). The mining operation uses a suction cutter dredge, from which the sand slurry is pumped to a run-of-mine (ROM) storage area, where it is de-slimed and stockpiled. De-watered sand from the ROM stockpiles is fed into a processing plant where it is screened, washed and classified. The main emission from the process is the discharge of ROM stacker overflow and process tailings into the dredge pond. Water used for processing is abstracted under a groundwater well licence issued by the Department of Water (DoW). Figure 1: Premise location (adapted from whereis.com) The land contains regionally significant vegetation complexes and wetland flora and fauna, with some transferred to the State conservation system as offsets for mining extensions. The original mining proposal was subject to formal environmental assessment by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and received Ministerial consent in 1994 (Statement 366). Subsequent proposals to extend the mine footprint were assessed by the EPA and are subject to Ministerial conditions (Statements 703 and 916). The mine was established under works approval 1232 and licensed under Part V of the EP Act in 1996. The latest licence, L6593/1995/8, was issued on 14 March 2013 and is the eighth issue (see Figure 2). The Office of the EPA, the DoW and the DER were involved in the assessment of the mine extension, and the DER reviewed the emissions and discharges from the mine under the Part V licence. The DER’s licence review determined that emissions and discharges to the dredge pond were not adequately regulated by the licence. Improvements in management techniques at the mine were identified to reduce the impact of total dissolved salts (TDS) in groundwater in the vicinity of the product stockpiles, and groundwater mounding in the zone of influence of the dredge pond on native vegetation. The DEC consulted with the DoW regarding the monitoring and management of ambient groundwater and sought to rationalise the monitoring requirements across the DoW groundwater licence, Part V licence and the Ministerial conditions.

    The DER prepared a draft licence (issue 8) and discussed it with licensee’s representatives at a site meeting on 13 February 2013. The licence (issue 8) was advertised on 18 March 2013 and it is in relation to this licence that the appeal was received.

    Premises

  • Kemerton Silica Sand Mine, Wokalup Appeals Convenor’s Report Kemerton Silica Sand Pty Ltd December 2013

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    Figure 2: Premise layout (source: Licence L6593/1995/8)

    APPEALS PROCESS Pursuant to section 106 of the EP Act, a report was obtained from the DER on the matters raised in the appeal. Staff from the Office of the Appeals Convenor discussed the matters of concern with the appellant and also with the DER, the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the DoW and conducted a site visit. The environmental appeals process is a merits based process. Appeal rights in relation to a licence are normally against the specifications of a licence, that is, whether the conditions of the licence are adequate or appropriate to minimise, manage or abate pollution and to ensure that premises are operated in an environmentally acceptable manner. As part of the appeals process the appellant requested a copy of the DER’s response to the appeal, in response the appellant provided additional information which has been included in this report. The Appeals Convenor has considered the additional information where necessary and appropriate.

  • Kemerton Silica Sand Mine, Wokalup Appeals Convenor’s Report Kemerton Silica Sand Pty Ltd December 2013

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    GROUNDS OF APPEAL AND OUTCOMES SOUGHT The appellant is seeking for the Minister to direct the DER to amend the licence as follows:

    • Ground 1: Condition 2.3.1 – ROM stacker overflow: Outcome sought: Removal of the ROM stacker overflow point source from Table 2.3.1 and the plural ‘wastes’ from the description in condition 2.3.1.

    • Ground 2: Condition 2.3.2 – Water quality limits: Outcome sought: Removal of the need to monitor point source discharges into the dredge pond from condition 2.3.2.