Smelter reveals greater volume of spent cell lining in storage

New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter has announced it is storing thousands more tonnes of potentially hazardous waste material than it previously advised.

The reported volume of spent cell lining, or SCL, stored at the Tiwai Point site has risen to 217,000 tonnes, up from the previously reported 181,000 tonnes.

The material contained both cyanide and fluoride.

The company yesterday said in a media release that, independent auditors had confirmed the adjusted totals following a survey of the site as part of its annual financial reporting process.

"NZAS has committed to removing all SCL, and financial provisions have been increased accordingly to ensure the responsible management of all material stored on site."

Chief executive and site general manager Stew Hamilton said it wanted to ensure the community was aware of the adjusted quantity.

“I want to be very clear that regardless of the amount, we remain committed to removing all of the material from the site to be recycled or disposed of safely and securely in accordance with modern standards."

He said it would not impact on the timeline of the material’s removal and it was being stored safely and securely.

The release stated this year marked 50 years of continuous operation at Tiwai Point.

"NZAS continues to conduct regular and extensive environmental monitoring of the site, recently releasing assessments of the groundwater surrounding the SCL storage facilities."

NZAS last week released a set of environmental reports in a bid to maintain transparency.

Its closure study included assessments of the groundwater surrounding the landfill site as well as the SCL waste storage facilities, and noted one of the SCL pad bores had recently collapsed due to coastal erosion.

The waste can react with water to give off explosive hydrogen and methane, and toxic ammonia.

Mr Hamilton said he was confident its environmental monitoring systems gave ample warning so as to prevent any breaches becoming harmful.

"There has never been an instance during our 50 years of operation which could harm the public or local communities.”

laura.smith@odt.co.nz

 

Add a Comment

 

Advertisement

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter