Sixth mediation date set for dross removal

Mataura Mill. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Mataura Mill. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Complexities of the planned removal of a hazardous substance stored in Mataura means a sixth mediation date has been set.

About 10,000 tonnes of aluminium dross from the Tiwai Point smelter is being stored in an old paper mill on the banks of the Mataura River.

Mediation began almost two months ago.

After the October 16 conference Judge Laurie Newhook said the expectation was the accelerated removal would begin the first week of November and the dross "could conceivably" be gone by Christmas.

Yesterday, he said it would begin in the second week of November.

"Constructive progress continues on planning for removal of the ouvea premix [aluminium dross] from Mataura to an industrial site, but I was informed that final details of complex contractual arrangements among at least seven corporate and government agency parties remain to be concluded.

"I was advised that those parties are meeting next week with a view to negotiate and settle the final details for putting the contracts in place."

While it was anticipated yesterday’s conference would be the last, another date was scheduled for November 9.

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) filed its Environment Court application in July and argued New Zealand Aluminium Smelters (NZAS) breached its discharge permit when the aluminium dross was removed from the Tiwai Point smelter, and was responsible for removing the dross from the Mataura site.

The conferences have involved the EDS, NZAS and interested parties, including the Environment Minister, Gore District Council, Southland Storage Ltd and Environment Southland.

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