Leaders tell of 'map' to tackle lead

PLANS: Deputy Premier and Energy and Mines Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan, left, and smelter chief Dale Webb launched a project to reduce lead emissions.

PLANS: Deputy Premier and Energy and Mines Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan, left, and smelter chief Dale Webb launched a project to reduce lead emissions.

A roadmap has been released for a "monumental" plan to lower lead emissions in Port Pirie.

The state government and lead smelter Nyrstar outlined recommendations from a review into the Targeted Lead Abatement Program and outlined the path to reduced emissions.

With Port Pirie Regional Council, the government and company told of a plan to invest more than $28 million in measures to build upon the recommendations.

Work has already begun to introduce recommendations from the review conducted by independent party Lew Owens. These are designed to improve the health of the community.

In another major step, the government will spend $1 million to finish the remediation of a former residential area north of Frederick Road as part of the plan.

Stuart MP and Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan, and Dale Webb, vice-president Australian Operations at Nyrstar, both expressed their support for the recommendations.

"The recommendations from the report are focused on having the greatest impact on reducing children's blood levels," said Deputy Premier Mr van Holst Pellekaan.

"The government, Nyrstar and the council are taking action to deliver improved health for children.

"As Deputy Premier and local MP, I am determined to reduce the level of lead exposure to deliver better outcomes for local people."

Mr Webb said that "Nyrstar Australia would work with the government, council and town" to back the recommendations.

"We welcome the government's announcement to invest in action to tackle the challenge of reducing the levels of lead in the community," he said. "We are beginning to see rewards from the recent major investments in environmental improvements at our facility and remain committed to continuing to improve our operations to reduce lead in air concentrations.

"Nyrstar Australia's recent announcement that we will invest in the construction of a new Product Recycling Facility will also make a significant contribution towards achieving that goal."

Mayor Leon Stephens said the commitments by the government and Mr Dan van Holst Pellekaan were "monumental".

"This is a commitment to Port Pirie's health and well-being for decades to come, something we have been calling for through Spencer Gulf Cities.

"We thank the government for their investment in our well-being," he said.

The package of measures includes the extension of program funding to 2034 and the appointment of Peter Dolan as executive director.

This will provide a framework to drive the reduction of lead-in-blood.

Other aspects of the plan:

  • A $23 million investment by Nyrstar in a recycling facility at the smelter to significantly reduce fugitive lead emissions and vastly improve the long-term health outcomes of the community and children in particular
  • Creation of 75 jobs at the peak of construction and sustaining of hundreds of jobs in the life of the project delivering a significant economic boost.
  • Allocation of $2.5 million for remediation and upgrading of 43 Housing SA homes at greatest risk of exposure to help reduce lead levels
  • An $875,000 master plan and greening strategy to reduce exposure to lead in public spaces.
  • The allocation of $1 million to complete the remediation of the former residential area north of Frederick Road.