Statement on NSW Government HCB Announcement
9 September 2004
Orica Limited said today it is pleased that the report by the State Government’s Independent Review Panel, released today, provides clarity for the destruction of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) stored at the Botany Industrial Park, Sydney.
"Orica is committed to the destruction of the HCB waste and looks forward to working with the NSW Government and all community stakeholders to implement a safe and environmentally sound outcome," said Orica’s General Manager Technology and Environment, Roy Rose.
"While we are pleased that the Independent Review Panel concluded that the GeoMelt process, selected by Orica, is fundamentally sound, we also support the view that undertaking the project in a remote NSW location of low environmental risk has compelling merit given the community concern with the GeoMelt process at the Botany site."
In addition to implementing the Report’s recommendations Orica will undertake extensive research projects into alternative technologies for destruction of HCB waste. This will include working with scientists from the Environmental Biotechnology Co-operative Research Centre to explore the potential for biological destruction of the waste.
In the meantime, Orica will improve its long-term storage facilities for the HCB waste.
In the light of these developments, Orica will work with the NSW Government and the community in extending the original target date for treatment of the waste by 2006 as envisaged at the time by the Government’s Waste Management Plan.
"The role of the NSW Government and the Botany community including the Botany Bay Council, will be critical in achieving a suitable outcome and we will be seeking to continue the community involvement in the project through the Community Participation and Review Committee," Mr Rose said.
The GeoMelt proposal had been approved previously by an independent Commission of Inquiry and through an Environmental Impact Statement process.
The waste at Botany is currently stored in drums within a purpose built facility on the site. The HCB waste was accumulated over many years of solvent and plastics manufacture on the Botany site. None has been produced since 1991. HCB is a grey crystalline powder, of low volatility.