Iluka Resources wants to continue dumping at Douglas; Radioactive material concerns

MINERAL sands company Iluka Resources wants to continue dumping tailings at its former Douglas mine site after its Victorian operations cease next year.

Horsham Rural City councillors discussed the company’s intention to seek an amendment to the Horsham Planning Scheme on Monday night.

Iluka wants the Douglas site designated a Special Use Zone to allow for the disposal of by-products.

It will also seek works approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and a licence to operate a landfill at the site.

Iluka flagged its intentions at an environmental review committee meeting on Wednesday last week. 

Council’s technical services director John Martin said council would meet with Iluka representatives on June 23.

“All we know at this stage is what was presented at the ERC meeting the other night,” he said.

“Council is keen to find out more.”

Since mining at the Douglas site south-west of Horsham ceased in 2012, Iluka has been processing heavy minerals concentrate from its Ouyen region mines at its Hamilton mine separation plant.

Iluka wants to continue processing minerals from its South Australian mines at Hamilton and dispose of the by-products at Douglas.

This is not covered by its current work plan.

Mr Martin said Iluka’s presentation at the ERC meeting highlighted it would be subject to a detailed approval process.

He said historically there had been concern about operations at the Douglas site, particularly from Kanagulk Landcare Group.

The group lobbied the State Government in 2012 to force Iluka to address its fear about radioactive material being stored at the site.

Mr Martin said the group had sought clarification about many issues throughout the years of the mine’s operation.

“Through the process Iluka will have to provide information it hasn’t necessarily been required to produce before,” he said.

“The company will have to conduct significant additional technical studies in relation to the potential impacts of the additional radioactive material being disposed of at the Douglas site.

“From what I can tell Iluka is not trying to avoid the issue.”

Mr Martin said concerned residents would be given an opportunity to have their say.

“There will be a public submission process, similar to that of an economics effect statement,” he said.

Cr Tony Phelan said it was important for council to maintain a vigorous oversight of the process.

“We shouldn’t be caught napping,” he said.

“I don’t think we are – I think we’ve got our eyes and ears open on this.

“But we shouldn’t be too blinkered either on what the possible outcomes might be.”

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