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Incitec Pivot reassures locals over nitrate plant expansion

Incitec Pivot has sought to reassure locals around its Newcastle ammonium nitrate plant as it seeks to expand into explosives manufacturing in the wake of the Kooragang Island leaks.

In late October the company, which manufactures explosives through its subsidiary Dyno Noble, met with locals over its planned ammonium nitrate plant.

At the time Incitec said it would carry out an open consultation, with expectations of a year long feasibility study.

The proposed plant will create around 300 jobs during its construction, and 60 positions once up and running.

Regulatory approvals manager Graham Woods told the Newcastle Herald that as the plant does not include ammonia manufacturing it will not be using hexavalent chromium, the chemical which leaked from Orica’s plant.

Speaking about the consultation process, Woods stated: "We want to get on the front foot in terms of communication and consultation.

"We’ve done a letter-box drop for residents in Stockton and Fern Bay with the project fact sheet. We’re also scheduling community information sessions and reference groups for the project."

It is planning to hold another information session in Mayfield tonight to update the local community, the ABC reports.

"Our project will get a lot of scrutiny from the regulators as well as the residents," he said.

"We just need to make sure that our environmental studies, risk studies and looking at cumulative impacts will need to be very well done and address all the issues of the local residents and the regulators."

Incitec is also planning to create a community consultative committee next year "to be a sort of a conduit between ourselves and residents and it will be quite a broad group of people, not just from Stockton but also Mayfield and other areas of Newcastle," Woods explained.

This latest announcement comes as Orica continues the start up of its nitric acid and ammonium nitrate plants.

Last week saw a busy time for the explosives manufacturer during which its prevention notice on operations was lifted, and it suffered another minor spill.

[Image: The Newcastle Herald]

This article originally appeared in Australian Mining.

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