Licences and approvals

Iluka Douglas mine site archive


Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has completed its assessment of Iluka Resources’ application for a works approval to continue disposing mineral sands waste at Pit 23 of its Douglas Mine Site. EPA has found that neither pollution or environmental hazard has occurred nor is likely to occur in the future as a result of current and proposed Pit 23 disposal activities.

As a result, EPA has determined the company does not require a works approval or licence for these activities. Iluka will still require a planning permit from Horsham Rural City Council and the radiation management licence currently in place for the site. The radiation management licence is issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

On this page:

In June 2015 Iluka Resources Ltd applied for a works approval to continue the disposal of waste by-products at its Douglas Mine site over the next 15 to 20 years. The application was accompanied by a planning permit application to Horsham Rural City Council (HRCC).

Consultation on further information received from Iluka

EPA invited stakeholders and members of the local community to review the further information received from Iluka in response to the amended Section 22 notice of 11 February 2016 and Section 22 notice of 11 September 2015. The written submissions we received during the 21-day consultation period, which closed on 13 April, are below.

The further information was also referred to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and the other bodies that were consulted on the original works approval application in June 2015. This was to allow them to report on whether the information changes their formal submissions in any way.

Iluka provided a response (PDF 210KB) to the referral responses and submissions on 26 April 2016.

EPA referral responses on the further information

Submissions from the community on the further information

Information session

To help the community understand the Section 22 notices and the further information received from Iluka, EPA held an information session on 6 April 2016 at Balmoral Hall.

EPA staff and our specialist independent desktop reviewers, HRCC, DHHS, Iluka staff and Iluka’s specialist team were at the session to answer questions from the community.

These were the presentations given at the information session:

Further information received in response to the amended Section 22 notice of 11 February 2016

In response to the amended Section 22 notice request of 11 February 2016, Iluka has provided further information. This covers site selection and design rationale, raw monitoring data, background reports, technical analysis, assessments and clarification responses to specific questions.

The three-part table below identifies and provides links to this further information from Iluka. Iluka in its response to this amended Section 22 notice has provided a series of responses and reports, which you can find below.

Understanding the baseline environment

The following requests are made

Amended Section 22 notice requirements Information supplied and notes
(a) An overarching Groundwater report that pulls together all of the baseline groundwater data and characterises it in one location (with supporting appendices of relevant reports and data), that specifically includes:
1. The interpreted results, including the groundwater levels and physicochemical analysis of the groundwater collected from a further round of groundwater monitoring currently under way – the samples to be collected in accordance with Hydrogeological assessment (groundwater quality) guidelines (publication 668), Groundwater sampling guidelines (publication 669) and Sampling and analysis of waters, wastewaters, soils and wastes (publication IWRG 701) for the collection of groundwater samples and the data to be presented in Excel format

Section 2 ‘Groundwater monitoring’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

Appendix A ‘Groundwater monitoring results and quality control’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters (Part A and Part B)

Appendix B ‘Groundwater monitoring results tabulated results’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters (PDF and Excel)

Appendix C ‘Groundwater monitoring results assessment and interpretation’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters 

2. Provision of slug test data to confirm hydraulic connectivity/aquifer permeability parameters used in the hydrogeological modelling and thereafter updated analysis and (if considered necessary by EPA) additionally modelling in points 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 below to take account of any revisions to the parameters

Section 3 ‘Slug test data’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

Appendix D ‘Slug test results’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

3. Updated analysis to include groundwater monitoring currently underway to confirm the presence or absence of a migratory relationship between Pit 22, Pit 23 and the Glenelg River Section 4 ‘Flow paths from Pit 23’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters
4. Updated analysis to include groundwater monitoring currently underway to understand and demonstrate that groundwater mounding around Pit 22 and Pit 23 is localized Section 4 ‘Flow paths from Pit 23’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters
5. Provision of the purpose of an objectives of a proposed groundwater monitoring and management program to be implemented to confirm the accuracy of the modelling and provide an early warning system to any future issues that may arise, such that suitable measures could be undertaken to prevent harm occurring to receptors and beneficial users

Section 2 ‘Groundwater monitoring and management program’ of the Supplementary response to amended notice to supply further information

Appendix A ‘Mineral separation plant by-product disposal and the Douglas Mine site – Groundwater monitoring and management plan’ of the Supplementary response to amended notice to supply further information

6. An investigation of groundwater flows and hydrogeochemistry at the site, and around the suspected groundwater sink of White Lake in the form of mass balances (giving consideration to variation in permeability) and to include consideration of the results of the groundwater monitoring currently under way Section 6 ‘Potential impacts on groundwater and White Lake’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters
7. Provision of updated analysis with the groundwater monitoring currently underway and assessment of the results of the leach testing and solubility analysis of the identified waste streams to be deposited into Pit 23 within consideration of the mass balance work on White Lake

Section 6 ‘Potential impacts on groundwater and White Lake’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

Appendix F ‘In pit dissolution model’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

8. Updated consideration and discussion of the Site and regional groundwater chemistry and potential for enhanced mobility of solutes in light of the results groundwater monitoring is required.

Section 6 ‘Potential impacts on groundwater and White Lake’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

Appendix F ‘In pit dissolution model’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

(b) A geomorphological assessment including empirical data collection to confirm the actual erosional rate at the site and validity of the assumed erosional rate

Section 7.1 ‘Erosion rate’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

Appendix B ‘Geomorphological investigation – Assessment of proposed surface design structure’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

Defining the potential impacts on the receiving environment

The following requests are made.

Amended Section 22 notice requirements Information supplied and notes
(a) That, within the overarching groundwater report, it specifically includes
1. A review of hydrogeological flow modelling and potentially updating (dependent on the analysis of the groundwater monitoring currently underway and the update of inputs into the modelling as required tasks above) to better understand the baseline to include further analysis of the potential impacts on White Lake with solute calculations and a mass balance of the percentage change in hydrochemistry with and without Pit 23 disposal activities Section 6 ‘Potential impacts on groundwater and White Lake’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters
2. Updated consideration of the groundwater flows in the short term period of groundwater mounding in the vicinity of Pit 23 (i.e. while the pit is open – say for another 5–10 years) following an analysis of the results of the groundwater monitoring currently underway Section 4 ‘Flow paths from Pit 23’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters
3. The temporal extent of the modelling and assessments needs to be increased to consider long term stability i.e. 50,000–100,000 years

Section 6.3 ‘Solute transport modelling’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

Appendix G ‘Solute transport modelling’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

4. Updating of the solute transport modelling to include longitudinal dispersal modelling, the results of the further groundwater monitoring undertaken and reconsidered assumptions and input data within the modelling

Section 6.3 ‘Solute transport modelling’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

Appendix G ‘Solute transport modelling’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Hydrogeological and groundwater related matters

(b) Model and review stormwater management and develop a stormwater management plan to cover the deposition of wastes into Pit 23 and with its final rehabilitated landform

Section 8 ‘Surface water management’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

Appendix C ‘Surface water management plan’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

(c) Develop and submit the principles of and outline of a decommissioning plan, including specifications of relevant mining standards to be met in a discrete identifiable document or section

Section 3 ‘Decommissioning/rehabilitation plan’ of the Supplementary response to amended notice to supply further information

Appendix B ‘MSP by-product disposal at Douglas Mine site  – Decommissioning plan’ of the Supplementary response to amended notice to supply further information

Demonstrating environmental best practice

The following requirements are made with regard to the selection of Pit 23 as the disposal site and the proposed containment options.

Amended Section 22 notice requirements Information supplied and notes
1. The detailed option study referred to in subsection 2.2 of the Works Approval application

Section 2 ‘Options study’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

Appendix A ‘Future disposal for Hamilton Mineral separation plant by-products – Options study’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

2. Provision of a detailed comparative assessment of the environmental impacts of by-product disposal at other Iluka (current) operating (or former mine) sites in Victoria, in particular, to substantiate statements in subsections 2.2.3 and 2.3 of the Application for Works Approval document that ‘there is no reason to believe that those [environmental] impacts [at other operating sites including the possibility of a new depository facility close/to at the source of the waste (the Hamilton Mineral Separation Plan)] would be any less’ and or disposal at Pit 23 is ‘equal or [a] better option than others available from the point of view of environment impact’ Section 3 ‘Comparative assessment of Iluka mine sites for by-product disposal’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters
3. Provision of further information to demonstrate that the proposed by-product practice is in line with Mineral Sand Industry Best Practice Section 4 ‘Industry best practice’ of the Supplementary response to amended notice to supply further information
4. Consideration and discussion of the appropriateness of the continued disposal of waste by-products in Pit 23 in particular that it will not unacceptably increase risk of any off-site impacts Section 5 ‘Appropriateness of the proposal’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters
5. Consideration and discussion of the appropriateness of the proposed containment measures in particular with consideration of feasibility of lining Pit 23

Section 5 ‘Containment measures’ of the Supplementary response to amended notice to supply further information

6. Provision of a pre-settlement contour plan and final cap design showing the top of waste and cap that is not to be exceeded as well as greater information on the proposed surface water management, rehabilitation and revegetation proposed to ensure there is adequate surface binding to prevent erosion of the capping layer, penetration of the cap and subsequent emission

Section 7.2 ‘Final cap design’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

Appendix B ‘Geomorphological investigation – assessment of proposed surface design structure’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

Section 6 ‘Final cap design’ of the Supplementary response to amended notice to supply further information

Attachment A ‘Plans and cross-sections of final landform’ of the Supplementary response to amended notice to supply further information

7. Consideration of alternative final landforms, such as a flat or a shallower slope (than the 1:30 and in parts 1:10) to further reduce long term potential erosion of the cap within the geomorphological assessment required above

Section 7.3 ‘Final landform’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

Appendix B ‘Geomorphological investigation – assessment of proposed surface design structure’ of the Response to notice to supply further information – Non hydrogeological or groundwater related matters

Amended Section 22 notice request

EPA issued an amended formal request (PDF 980KB) on 11 February 2016 under Section 22(1) of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (the Act) to Iluka Resources Ltd.

In response to the formal request for further information made on 11 September 2015 under Section 22(1) of the Act, Iluka has provided further information to EPA. It has also commissioned an additional round of groundwater monitoring and discussed with EPA the information required to enable EPA to assess the works approval application.

Attachment A of the amended Section 22 notice clarifies and identifies the specifics of the outstanding further information required of Iluka to enable EPA to complete its technical assessment.

When the information required in this notice is received it will be made available on this web page for a 21-day consultation period. This will allow stakeholders who provided written submissions in the initial consultation period to ascertain whether the additional information changes their submissions.

Further information received in response to the Section 22 notice of 11 September 2015

In response to the Section 22 notice request of 11 September 2015, Iluka provided further baseline data, historical baseline reports and technical notes in October and November 2015.

The three-part table below identifies and provides links to this further information. Iluka in its response to this Section 22 notice provided a commentary response (PDF 135KB) dated 19 November 2015 and documents.

Where a response to a Section 22 item was provided in the commentary response, this is indicated in the table below. Where information was expected but had not been received by December 2015, this is indicated by an ‘Awaiting further information’ note in the table, with the further information being subsequently supplied (and made available) in Further information received in response to the amended Section 22 notice of 11 February 2016 above.

Understanding the baseline environment

Original notice requirements Information supplied and notes
1. Further baseline information as set out below:
  • all Iluka raw (i.e. not summaries) groundwater borelog and monitoring data (including groundwater levels) pertaining to its Douglas mine site (both pre-mining and post mining disposal)

Pre-December 2015 information:

  • physicochemical monitoring data for all groundwater samples (ideally in Excel format)

Pre-December 2015 information:

  • full laboratory analysis reports for all the by-product characterisation analysis completed and reported in the tables within the application for works approval document and the groundwater risk assessment contained in Expert Report Volume 1

Iluka noted that the specific laboratory reports have not been provided by ANSTO (the laboratory) but the methods applied are described in the ANSTO reports provided, and that the results of the laboratory analyses conducted by ANSTO are contained in reports containing data of other matters and are significantly broader in scope than the work related to by-product disposal at Douglas. Accordingly, confidential information not relevant to Pit 23 disposal has been redacted. Much of the redacted information is on materials that are sold rather than disposed and/or are produced in Western Australia.

  • surface water monitoring data (field measurements and the laboratory analyses) down gradient of the site and for the locations identified in Table 6.5.2 of the application for works approval document
  • soil sampling and depositional dust (including information on current dust monitoring (location, frequency, method, observed weather conditions at and before monitoring, and dust constituents) monitoring data.
2. Electronic copies of documents relied upon and referenced in the Expert Report Volume 2 as identified below:
  • Basin Mineral Holdings (2001). Douglas Heavy Minerals Projects, Stage 1 Environmental Effects Statement, December 2001
Read report (PDF 6.2MB)
  • Golder Associates (2001). Modelling notes for the effects of tailings storage on groundwater within the Douglas area, unpublished Report to Basin Minerals Holdings NL, December 2001
Read report (PDF 170KB)
  • Hattingh R (2008). Groundwater mounding at Douglas Mine, unpublished report to Iluka, November 2008
Read report (PDF 410KB)
  • SKM (2004). Bondi West Hydrogeological Investigation, Final Report, March 2004
Read report (PDF 2.4MB)
  • SKM (2007). Groundwater Monitoring, Douglas Mine, Letter Report, April 2007
Read report (PDF 1.2MB)
  • SKM (2008). Douglas Mine Groundwater & Surface water Monitoring Review & Rationalisation, March, 2008
Read report (PDF 2.3MB)
  • Smart J (2001a). Preliminary Water table Investigations Douglas-Toolondo Area, unpublished report to Basin Minerals Holdings NL, August 2001
Read report (PDF 4.5MB)
  • Smart J (2001b). Lakes and Swamps in the Douglas - Toolondo Area, unpublished report to Basin Minerals Holdings NL, August 2001
Read report (PDF 4.6MB)
  • Smart J (2001c). Renmark Group Stratigraphic Drilling, unpublished report to Basin Minerals Holdings NL, August 2001.
Read report (PDF 1.6MB)
3. A network groundwater bore performance audit and aquifer pump test [of an appropriate duration – to be discussed and agreed]

Commentary response of 19 November 2015; also [network groundwater] Monitoring bore audit (Attachment A) (PDF 3.0MB) and CDM Smith Review of monitoring bore audit (Attachment B) (PDF 220KB).

Further noted that Iluka have provided a CDM Smith model parameter justification response (Attachment C) (PDF 470KB).

All prepared and submitted in advance of the additional groundwater monitoring undertaken in December 2015/January 2016.

4. Additional groundwater bores up and cross-gradient need to be installed to the northwest and west of the Pit 23 [locations and numbers to be discussed and agreed] to demonstrate that there is no migratory relationship, i.e. that groundwater cannot migrate from Pit 23 to Glenelg River (or elsewhere other than White Lake)

Commentary response of 19 November 2015 and CDM Smith groundwater flow path response (Attachment D) (PDF 3.0MB).

All prepared and submitted in advance of the additional groundwater monitoring undertaken in December 2015/January 2016.

Awaiting further information.

5. Additional groundwater bores [locations and numbers to be discussed and agreed] need to be installed to demonstrate that groundwater mounding around Pit 23 is localised

Commentary response of 19 November 2015.

Awaiting further information.

6. An investigation of groundwater flows and hydrogeochemistry at the site, and around the suspected groundwater sink of White Lake

Commentary response of 19 November 2015.

Awaiting further information.

7. A detailed assessment of the results of the leach testing and solubility analysis of the identified waste streams to be deposited into Pit 23 as reported in the application for works approval document and groundwater risk assessment contained in Expert Report Volume 1

Commentary response of 19 November 2015 Supplied here, noting that additional data from the December 2015/January 2016 Groundwater Monitoring is expected to supplement this, along with the report expected on mass balance at White Lake.

Awaiting further information.

8. A geomorphological assessment including empirical data collection to confirm the actual erosional rate at the site and validity of the assumed erosional rate

Commentary response of 19 November 2015 with the scope of a now-commissioned geomorphological assessment (Attachment E) (PDF 300KB).

Awaiting further information.

9. A discussion of the Site and regional groundwater chemistry and potential for enhanced mobility of solutes in groundwater is required. Awaiting further information.

Defining the potential impacts on the receiving environment

The following requests are made.

Original notice requirements Information supplied and notes
1. A review of hydrogeological flow modelling and potentially updating (dependent on the required tasks above) to better understand the baseline

Commentary response of 19 November 2015 and CDM Smith groundwater flow path response (Attachment D) (PDF 3.0MB) prepared in advance of the additional groundwater monitoring undertaken in December 2015/January 2016.

Awaiting further information.

2. Consideration and discussion within the risk assessment of uncertainties relating in particular to dispersion, permeability and effective porosity

Commentary response of 19 November 2015 and a Jacobs analytical solute transport model (Attachment F) (PDF 163KB).

Awaiting further information

3. Consideration of the groundwater flows in the short term period of groundwater mounding in the vicinity of Pit 23 (i.e., whilst the pit is open – say, for another 5–10 years)

Iluka has submitted a CDM Smith groundwater flow path response (Attachment D) (PDF 3.0MB).

All prepared and submitted in advance of the additional groundwater monitoring undertaken in December 2015/January 2016.

Awaiting further information.

4. The temporal extent of the modelling and assessments needs to be increased to consider long term stability i.e. 50,000–100,000 years Awaiting further information.
5. Consideration of and demonstration that groundwater migration from Pit 23 to Glenelg River (or elsewhere other than White Lake) cannot occur

Iluka have submitted a response of 19 November 2015.

Awaiting further information.

6. Reconsideration of the assumptions and input data within the modelling, to include more conservative assumptions [to be discussed and agreed] and to ensure consistencies in the input data between the solute transport and hydrogeological models

Iluka has submitted a response of 19 November 2015 and a Jacobs analytical solute transport model (Attachment F) (PDF 163KB).

Awaiting further information

7. A proposed long-term groundwater monitoring and management program, including provisions for any future maintenance and rehabilitation of the current network Awaiting further information.
8. Model and review stormwater management and develop a stormwater management plan to cover the deposition of wastes into Pit 23 and with its final rehabilitated landform

Commentary response of 19 November 2015.

Awaiting further information.

9. A schedule with supporting figure images confirming the types of and quantities proposed to be deposited in Pit 23, including capping materials and that they can be deposited in Pit 23 without any increased landform compared to pre-mining conditions. In the event that there is too much waste or overburden material, this should be clearly indicated with details provided describing how it will be managed and deposited

10. Develop and submit a decommissioning plan

Commentary response of 19 November 2015.

Awaiting further information.

Demonstrating environmental best practice

The following requirements are made with regard to the selection of Pit 23 as the disposal site and the proposed containment options.

Original notice requirements Information supplied and notes
1. The detailed option study referred to in subsection 2.2 of the Works Approval application Awaiting further information.
2. Provision of a detailed comparative assessment of the environmental impacts of by-product disposal at other Iluka operating sites, in particular, to substantiate statements in subsections 2.2.3 and 2.3 of the Application for Works Approval document that ‘there is no reason to believe that those [environmental] impacts [at other operating sites] would be any less’ and or disposal at Pit 23 is ‘equal or [a] better option than others available from the point of view of environment impact’ Awaiting further information.
3. Consideration and discussion of the appropriateness of the continued disposal of waste by-products in Pit 23 in particular that it will not increase risk of any off-site impacts Awaiting further information.
4. Consideration and discussion of the appropriateness of the proposed containment measures in particular with consideration of feasibility of lining Pit 23 Awaiting further information.
5. Provision of a pre-settlement contour plan and final cap design showing the top of waste and cap that is not to be exceeded as well as greater information on the proposed surface water management, rehabilitation and revegetation proposed to ensure there is adequate surface binding to prevent erosion of the capping layer, penetration of the cap and subsequent emission Awaiting further information.
6. Consideration of alternative final landforms, such as a flat or a shallower slope (than the 1:30 and in parts 1:10) to further reduce long term potential erosion of the cap Awaiting further information.

Section 67A time waiver

In acknowledging the likely extent and technical nature of the new information to be provided by Iluka and to enable a 21-day consultation period with the local community and key stakeholders, Iluka has formally agreed with EPA to extend the statutory time frames for a final decision.

Iluka’s response to the written submissions

In response to the written submissions received by Horsham Rural City Council and the Environment Protection Authority following the joint advertisement of the planning permit and works approval applications on 8 July, Iluka Resources has prepared a detailed response. The response in two parts includes:

There is also a cover letter (PDF 134KB).

Section 22 notice request

EPA issued a formal request on 11 September under Section 22(1) of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (the Act) to Iluka Resources Ltd.

The Section 22 notice request (PDF 362KB) requires Iluka to provide further information as identified in the notice. EPA will hold a meeting with Iluka, Horsham Rural City Council and DHHS to discuss the information, which will then be considered as part of the assessments of the applications. The outcome of the detailed discussions will be agreed terms of reference confirming how Iluka will respond to the request, and this will be posted on our website.

When the further information meeting the terms of reference is received, it will be made available to allow review and comments by stakeholders including the local community.

Section 20B conference

Following the review of submissions during the public consultation period, a community conference was held under Section 20B of the Act on Tuesday, 25 August 2015.

The purpose of the conference was to enhance community understanding of Iluka Resources’ proposal and the concerns raised by the public.

It was an opportunity for:

  • Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and HRCC to present a summary update on the works approval application and assessment process
  • HRCC and EPA to present a summary of the issues raised in submissions
  • the community to ask questions and raise any additional matters relevant to HRCC’s and EPA’s assessments.

Chaired and run by an independent facilitator, the key outcome of the conference was a report (produced by the independent facilitator; PDF 1.1MB) that documents the key issues and possible solutions raised in written submissions and at the conference.

The report will be taken into consideration by HRCC and EPA as part as their assessments of Iluka Resources’ applications.

Submissions

The closing date for submissions was 5 August 2015. As this is a joint works approval and planning permit process, all submissions are being reviewed by both EPA and HRCC. All submissions received can be viewed below. If and when further submissions are received they will be made available online. Note that personal information has been redacted and where there were duplicate submissions, only those received by EPA are shown.

  • Submission received by Environment Protection Authority Victoria – 1
  • Submission received by Environment Protection Authority Victoria – 2
  • Submission received by Environment Protection Authority Victoria – 3
  • Submission received by Environment Protection Authority Victoria – 4
  • Submission received by Environment Protection Authority Victoria  5
  • Submission received by Environment Protection Authority Victoria  6
  • Submission received by Environment Protection Authority Victoria  7
  • Submission received by Environment Protection Authority Victoria  8
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 1
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 2
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 3
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 4
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 5
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 6
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 7
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 8
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 9
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 10
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 11
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 12
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 13
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 14
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 15
  • Submission received by Horsham Rural City Council – 16

EPA referral responses

The following additional responses have been received from organisations to who the EPA works approval was specifically referred to for comment.

  • Department of Health and Human Services submission
  • Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority submission
  • Wimmera Catchment Management Authority submission
  • Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water submission
  • Earth Resources Regulation submission

Background

EPA received a works approval application from Iluka Resources Ltd on 23 June 2015. Iluka Resources wants to dispose an estimated 2,200,000 tonnes of waste by-products in Pit 23 of its Douglas mine site over the next 15 to 20 years.

The waste will be predominantly by-products from its Hamilton Mineral Separation Plant (MSP) but would also include used filter bags from Hamilton MSP, and concrete and steel from other Victorian Iluka Resources mine sites (which have closed), that is contaminated with Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM). The waste by-products, including NORM wastes, would be covered with a 5m thick cap (clean fill). Radioactive waste is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under a Radiation Management Licence.

The works approval application was accompanied by a planning permit application to Horsham Rural City Council (HRCC). Both applications were jointly advertised in the Herald Sun, Wimmera Mail Times and Hamilton Spectator newspapers on Wednesday, 8 July 2015. Both applications have been public since Wednesday, 8 July 2015.

The closing date for public submissions to EPA was on Wednesday, 5 August 2015. In the event that Iluka Resources submits further information to support the works approval application, it will be made available to view online. An invitation will be sent to submission authors with the opportunity to provide further comments on the new information.

Community information session

Residents were invited to a community information session on 23 July 2015 to view information about the proposal and speak with HRCC, EPA, referral agencies and Iluka Resources. Sixty-one residents and interested persons attended the event and site tours for those attendees interested in visiting Pit 23 were arranged with Iluka Resources. The poster boards and other information available at the event are available to view and download from this page in Supporting documents.

Following a review of submissions a community conference was held under Section 20B of the Environment Protection Act.

Supporting documents

Iluka Resources’ works approval application

Iluka Resources’ materials for the community information session

Other material for the community information session

Contact

If you would like to speak to someone about the works approval application or planning permit application, please contact:

Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Richard Hook – Project Manager, Works Approval
1300 372 842
contact@epa.vic.gov.au

Horsham Rural City Council

Adam Moar – Statutory Planner
03 5382 9798
adam.moar@hrcc.vic.gov.au
Horsham Rural City Council website

Department of Health & Human Services

Radiation Safety
radiation.safety@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Q&As

About Iluka Resources + Expand all Collapse all

  • How have Iluka Resources’ activities been regulated to date?

    Iluka Resources’ mining operations and by-product waste disposal are currently regulated by Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and by a radiation management licence issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under the Radiation Act 2005.

    When Iluka Resources’ Victorian mining operations cease and stockpiled materials are processed, the disposal of by-product waste at Douglas Mine Pit 23 will no longer be covered by Iluka Resources’ mining licence.

    DHHS will remain the regulator of radiation safety.

  • What is Iluka Resources currently applying for?

    Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) received a works approval application from Iluka Resources Ltd on 23 June 2015. Iluka wants to dispose an estimated 2,200,000 tonnes of waste by-products in Pit 23 of its Douglas mine site over the next 15-20 years. After this time, the site will be rehabilitated in accordance with the existing and approved rehabilitation plans.

    An application for a planning permit has also been lodged with the Horsham Rural City Council. EPA and Horsham Council are working closely with other Victorian Government Departments including Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Department of Health & Human Services; and Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

  • Why does Iluka Resources need an EPA works approval and Horsham Rural City Council planning permit?

    Because Iluka Resources wants to process interstate  minerals at its Hamilton Mineral Separation Plant and dispose the by-product waste into Douglas Mine in Pit 23 for the next 15 to 20 years, the company must apply for an Environment Protection Authority Works Approval and Horsham Rural City Council planning permit.

  • What exactly is Iluka Resources disposing of in the Douglas mine Pit 23?

    By-product wastes include both naturally occurring radioactive and non-radioactive materials, such as:

    • by-products (typically sand, clay and gypsum) of the processing of heavy mineral concentrate at the Hamilton plant
    • by-products of onsite processing at Douglas
    • used dust filter bags from the Hamilton Mineral Separation Plant
    • concrete and steel from other Iluka Resources Victorian mine sites (as they close) that is contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive materials and therefore cannot otherwise be recycled or reused, as part of the rehabilitation of those sites.

About the works approval process + Expand all Collapse all

  • How will the application process proceed?

    Environment Protection Authority (EPA) received a Works Approval application from Iluka Resources on June 23, 2015 to continue the disposal of by-product wastes at its Douglas Mine Pit 23.

    At the same time, Horsham Rural City Council also received a planning permit application from Iluka Resources to allow the disposal of by-products of mineral sands extraction and processing.

    EPA will work with Horsham Rural City Council to conduct the works approval and planning permit application assessment.

  • Were the applications made publicly available?

    Yes. Both applications were jointly advertised in the Herald Sun and local newspapers and were also made accessible for viewing and downloading from Environment Protection Authority’s and Horsham Rural City Council’s website.

    Given the complexity of the issue, a longer than normal period of 28 days of advertising (usually 21 days) was agreed.

  • What will EPA be assessing in regards to the application?

    Iluka Resources will be required to demonstrate that the by-products waste disposal process works:

    • are permitted by the land use planning scheme and/or have a valid planning permit
    • will not adversely affect the interests of any person other than the applicant
    • will not adversely affect the quality of any segment of the environment
    • comply with relevant state environment protection policies, regulations and guidelines
    • will comply with environment protection principles within the Environment Protection Act 1970.

  • What will EPA use to inform its decision?

    Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) decision on the Works Approval application will consider the expert views of specialist staff, the expert views of staff at referral agencies such as Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, as well as submissions from the community.

    In addition, EPA and Horsham Rural City Council will consider the findings of the independent review they will commission into the two applications and supporting documents in making their respective decisions. The review will be made publicly available.

  • What other expertise is being consulted by EPA?

    Environment Protection Authority and Horsham Rural City Council have commissioned a desktop review of the works approval and planning permit applications and supporting documents by an independent consultancy, specialising in mining, waste and hydrogeology.

    This desktop review will be made publicly available as part of the works approval assessment report at the completion of the process.

  • What happens next?

    Following the review of public submissions, EPA held a community conference under Section 20B of the Environment Protection Act 1970 on 25 August.

    The conference aimed to increase residents’ understanding of Iluka’s proposal, gain a greater understanding of any community concerns and identify potential options and solutions.

    The outcomes of the conference will be considered by EPA as part of the works approval decision-making process.

    The Environment Protection Act requires that EPA make a decision on a works approval application within four months of receiving a complete application. EPA may request further information from the applicant during the process or require an extension of time to complete the assessment.

  • How long will it take for EPA to make a decision?

    The Environment Protection Act requires that Environment Protection Authority (EPA) must make a decision on Works Approval applications within four months of receiving a complete application. EPA may request further information from the applicant during the process or require an extension of time to complete the assessment.

    The statutory time frame of 4 months includes an advertising and public comment period, the 20B Conference and time to undertake assessment and address all relevant considerations before making the decision.

    EPA endeavours to complete works approval assessments faster than statutory time frames however, with complex approvals such as this, extended time frames can be necessary to ensure rigorous decision making is maintained.

  • Where can Iluka Resources’ works approval application be viewed?

    To view Iluka Resources’ works approval application, visit: www.epa.vic.gov.au/Iluka.

    View Iluka Resources’ planning permit application on Horsham Rural City Councils website. Submissions and concerns relating to the planning permit application can be emailed to planning@hrcc.vic.gov.au.

About radiation licensing + Expand all Collapse all

  • What is the regulatory regime with respect to radiation?

    The Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) administers the Radiation Act 2005 (the Act) and the Radiation Regulations 2007 which provide the framework for authorising a radiation practice and the use of a radiation source including:

    • possession of radiation sources
    • transport of radioactive material
    • sale of radiation sources
    • commissioning of a radiation facility
    • processing of radioactive material.

    Radiation can be described as energy or particles that travel through space or other mediums. Light, heat, microwaves and wireless communications are all forms of radiation. Ionising radiation is emitted by a large range of natural materials, and can be produced by everyday devices such as X-ray machines.

    Ionising radiation and radioactive materials are widely used in medicine, industry, agriculture, environmental studies, and research.

    High doses of radiation can be hazardous to human health. This is why there is legislation to govern the licensing and use of radiation sources including radio-active materials.

    The Act states that any person (including a body corporate) carrying out a radiation practice must hold a management licence that authorises that practice and a person using a radiation source must hold a licence that authorises that use. DHHS issued a radiation management license to Iluka Resources Limited in 2006 which remains current.

  • Is the radiation from by-product waste disposal regulated?

    Yes. Under the Radiation Act 2005, Department of Health & Human Services issued a radiation management licence that includes the regulation of the disposal of naturally occurring radioactive material from the Hamilton Plant by-product waste streams at Douglas.

  • Does the radiation from by-product waste disposal pose a risk to human health or the environment?

    No. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources have determined that the by-product waste disposal activities do not pose a risk to human health or the environment and are appropriately controlled and managed. See the Department of Health and Human Services detailed referral request.

  • What does Iluka Resources’ existing radiation management licence allow it to do?

    Under this licence, Iluka Resources is permitted to:

    • possess, dispose of, and consign (for transport) –
      • sealed source apparatus (this apparatus is designed to measure product characteristics or analyse the structure of materials)
      • unsealed radioactive material in the form of mineral sands
      • unsealed radioactive material in the form of processed mineral sands
    • sell processed mineral sands
    • mine mineral sands
    • possess the by-products from –
      • mineral processing plant processing of mineral sands
      • mineral sands mining.
  • What did Iluka Resources have to provide to get a radiation management licence?

    Iluka Resources was required to develop a Radiation Management Plan and a Radioactive Waste Management Plan and obtain approval for these plans by Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). If Iluka Resources seeks to change these documents in any way, the changes must be formerly approved by DHHS. Such changes have occurred from time to time since the project began.

  • What is Iluka Resources required to do under the radiation management licence?

    The licence issued by the Department of Health & Human Services requires Iluka Resources to comply with:

    • obligations of the operator and employer in the Code of Practice for Radiation Protection and Radioactive Waste Management in Mining and Mineral Processing (2005) published by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)

    • obligations of the consignor (the person sending the materials) in the Code of Practice for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Materials (2008)

    • obligations specified in the approved Radiation Management Plan and Radioactive Waste Management Plan

    • obligations to report certain types of radiation incidents and to notify regarding the disposal and acquisition of radiation sources.

  • Are there any reporting obligations?

    Every year Iluka Resources must prepare a report which contains the radiation doses received by occupationally exposed workers arising from gamma radiation, radon gas, inhaled dust and ingested dust. These reports must be submitted to the Department of Health & Human Services no later than the first working day after 1 September and 1 March of each year.

  • Has Iluka Resources complied with the licence?

    Yes. Iluka Resources has complied with all requirements under the current licence.

  • How will Iluka Resources’ disposal of by-product waste at Douglas Mine in Pit 23 be regulated in the future?

    Should the works approval be granted, Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) will ensure there is appropriate regulatory oversight of the by-product waste disposal activities. This will include consideration of whether there is a need for any specific works approval conditions to control the acoustic environment, air quality, surface water, groundwater, environmental monitoring and performance reporting and the need for an ongoing EPA licence which would stipulate a further set of conditions that Iluka would have to adhere to.

    DHHS will continue to regulate the disposal of the radioactive by-product waste in Douglas Mine Pit 23 and the rehabilitation requirements set out in Iluka’s Radiation Waste Management Plan.

    Horsham Rural City Council, should it grant Iluka Resources the planning permit, will regulate the planning conditions such as to control any specific works approval conditions to control the acoustic environment, air quality, surface water, groundwater, final landform, revegetation, environmental monitoring, community engagement and performance reporting with support from EPA, DHHS and other referral agencies as required. The enforcement of any such conditions would be by HRCC under the Planning and Environment Act.

    Iluka Resources would be required to lodge a Rehabilitation Bond with the Horsham Rural City Council.

Community engagement + Expand all Collapse all

  • How can community concerns be raised?

    Members of the community who may be affected by the granting of the permit or works approval may object or make submissions to either EPA or HRCC.

    The submission period has now closed.

    Following the review of submissions a community conference was conducted under Section 20B of the Environment Protection Act 1970. The purpose of the conference was to enhance understanding of Iluka Resources’ proposal and the concerns of the local community.

    The conference’s independent facilitator has released a report for EPA’s consideration as part of its assessment of works approval application WA 1001971 and HRCC’s consideration of planning permit application 15–105.

    In the event that Iluka Resources submits further information to support the works approval application, it will be made available to view online. An invitation will be sent to submission authors with the opportunity to provide further comments on the new information.

    Concerns relating to the works approval application can be emailed to works.approval@epa.vic.gov.au.

    Concerns relating to the planning permit application can be emailed to planning@hrcc.vic.gov.au.

About the independent facilitator’s conference report + Expand all Collapse all

  • Why was the conference report prepared?

    The report was prepared for EPA’s consideration as part of its assessment of works approval application WA 1001971 and Horsham Rural City Council’s consideration of planning permit application 15–105.

  • What does the conference report contain?

    The report details the concerns, key issues and possible options and solutions raised in written submissions and at the 20B community conference held by EPA on Iluka Resources’ works approval application.

    The report includes reflections and recommendations that represent an impartial, non-expert view, based on comments made at the community conference.

  • What was the purpose of the 20B community conference?

    Following the review of public submissions, EPA held a community conference under Section 20B of the Environment Protection Act on 25 August.

    The conference aimed to increase residents’ understanding of Iluka’s proposal, gain a greater understanding of any community concerns and identify potential options and solutions.

    The outcomes of the conference will be considered by the EPA as part of the works approval decision-making process and HRCC within the determination of the planning permit application.

  • Where was the conference held and who attended?

    The conference ran over four hours on Tuesday, 25 August 2015, and was held in the Balmoral Hall. A total of 15 community representatives attended, joined by five staff from Iluka Resources, five staff from EPA, four staff from DHHS, and six staff and six councillors from Horsham Rural City Council.

  • Who was the independent facilitator and what was her role?

    The independent facilitator was Jen Lilburn and her role was to help organise and facilitate the session and write the report based on the key issues and concerns raised by those who attended.

  • How is the independent facilitator appointed?

    EPA selects the most appropriate independent facilitator for each conference from a statewide list based on their experience and strengths in working with the community on complex situations to ensure the voices of all parties are heard. HRCC supported the selection.

  • How were the independent facilitator’s technical recommendations developed?

    The independent facilitator’s technical recommendations have been made in response to community concerns as reported at the conference about Iluka’s proposal. They have been derived from suggestions made during the community conference or in submissions by those attending.

  • What will EPA and HRCC do with the recommendations of the independent facilitator’s report?

    The report has been prepared to assist EPA’s consideration of the works approval application WA 1001971 and Horsham Rural City Council’s consideration of planning permit application 15–105.

  • What happens now with the conference report?

    EPA and Horsham Rural City Council will consider the report as part as their assessments of Iluka Resources’ applications, along with the expert views of specialist staff at referral agencies such as the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), plus the expert views of an independent desktop review commissioned by EPA, and the written submissions of the community and any response received from Iluka to this report and the written submissions.

    Updates on how EPA is progressing its assessment, including how it will respond to this report, will be made and posted on EPA’s website once the report has been fully considered and actions determined, by the end of September.

  • How long will it take for EPA to make a decision on the application?

    The Environment Protection Act requires that EPA make a decision on works approval applications within four months of receiving a complete application. EPA may request further information from the applicant during the process or require an extension of time to complete the assessment.

    The statutory time frame of four months includes an advertising and public comment period, the 20B conference and time to undertake assessment and address all relevant considerations before making the decision.

    EPA tries to complete works approval assessments faster than statutory time frames; however, with complex approvals such as this, extended time frames can be necessary to ensure our decision making is rigorous.

About the amended Section 22 notice + Expand all Collapse all

  • What is a Section 22 notice request?

    A Section 22 notice request of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (the Act) is a request for further information from an applicant that is seeking a works approval from EPA. 

    The request allows EPA to require any information, plans and specifications it considers necessary and relevant to the consideration of the application within a specified time.

  • Why has EPA issued an amended Section 22 notice request?

    EPA issued a formal request on 11 September 2015 under Section 22(1) of the Environment Protection Act to Illuka Resource.

    In response to that request, Iluka has provided further information to EPA, commissioned an additional round of groundwater monitoring and discussed with EPA the remaining information required to enable EPA to assess the works approval application.

    To reflect these activities and clearly identify the information still required by EPA, we issued Iluka an amended Section 22 notice on 11 February 2016.

    Attachment A of the amended Section 22 notice identifies the outstanding further information required of Iluka, both to enable EPA to complete its technical assessment and to inform Horsham Rural City Council’s assessment of Iluka’s planning permit application.

  • What does the amended Section 22 notice request Iluka to do? The amended Section 22 notice request requires Iluka to provide further information as identified in the notice. This includes baseline hydrogeological conditions around and down-gradient of Pit 23 and a geomorphological assessment.
  • What’s changed from the Section 22 notice of 11 September 2015?

    Attachment A of the amended Section 22 notice supplements and updates Attachment A of the 11 September 2015 notice, reflecting the provision of further information addressing some of the original requests, and discussions between Iluka, EPA and the relevant technical specialists. These discussions have helped EPA identify what information it needs to be able to make a robust technical assessment of Iluka’s works approval application. Accordingly, for some items the wording in the 11 September 2015 notice has been amended, whilst in other areas new supplementary items are requested.

    See the information received from Iluka in response to the 11 September 2015 notice and therefore removed from the amended notice.

  • When does Iluka have to provide the information?

    Iluka has until 22 February to provide the requested information. If it is not provided by this date, Iluka’s works approval application will be put on hold until the required information is received and accepted as satisfying the requirements of the amended Section 22 notice.

  • What will happen when the further information is received? Will we get a chance to comment on it?

    When the information required in the amended Section 22 notice is received to our satisfaction, EPA will make it available for a 21-day consultation period to those stakeholders who provided written submissions in the initial consultation period. This will allow them to determine whether the additional information changes the submissions already provided.

    EPA will then consider the further information from Iluka and any new or updated submissions and referral responses when completing its technical assessment of the works approval application.

About the Section 67A time waiver + Expand all Collapse all

  • What is a Section 67A time waiver?

    A Section 67A agreement under the Environment Protection Act is an agreement between a proponent and EPA to extend the statutory period in which EPA can determine a works approval application.

  • Why has a Section 67A time waiver been agreed?

    In response to the issuing of the Section 22 notice and amended Section 22 notice, Iluka is collating additional baseline data, analysis and reports.

    We anticipate that the further information provided will be both extensive in volume and technical. Accordingly, to ensure the local community, written submitters and referral agencies have an appropriate opportunity to review this new material, we will hold a 21-day consultation period.

    Consequently, EPA will need additional time beyond the statutory period to run the consultation and to consider any submissions and referral responses prior to concluding its technical assessment.

  • What does this mean to the likely decision date?

    If the further information supplied by Iluka meets the requirements of the amended Section 22 notice by 22 February, a decision on the works approval application is expected to be made in early April.

    Should EPA identify the need for further information to undertake its assessment, Iluka will be required to provide this by an agreed date.

    In making its determination, EPA will consider the expert views of specialist staff, the expert views of staff at referral agencies such as Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, as well as submissions from the community.

    EPA’s works approval process is designed to ensure the best and most cost-effective environmental outcomes on projects are achieved.

Page last updated on 8 Dec 2016