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Ministry for the Environment waste director Shaun Lewis appeared before the environment select committee yesterday to submit on MP Mark Patterson’s petition to remove the dross from the Mataura Paper Mill.
The building is used to store ouvea premix, a by-product of production at NZAS’ Tiwai Point facility.
If the dross mixes with water, it can create a toxic ammonia gas.
The petition asks the Government to employ any means necessary to remove the aluminium dross from the site and relocate it to Tiwai Point.
Mr Lewis said negotiations with NZAS were put on hold about a week and a-half ago, and alternative locations for the dross to be stored were being investigated.
When asked about possible domestic options for disposal other than just storage, Mr Lewis said there were some possibilities.
But it was difficult to test how viable and expensive they were.
One canvassed option was to use it in the cement-making process at Golden Bay Cement.
"That requires some retrofitting of the site," he said.
"So it doesn’t come without complexity and the pace at which they would be able to do that is questionable as well."
The option was not "actively being explored", but it was on the table, he said.