EPA received a works approval application from Chunxing Corporation Pty Ltd in November 2019. The application was for a used lead acid battery (ULAB) recycling plant to be built at Crown Allotment 2047, Fourth Road, Hazelwood North. Each year, the proposed plant would process 50,000 tonnes of used lead acid batteries, to produce 28,000 tonnes of refined lead.
You can view a copy of the following on Engage Victoria:
- the works approval application and supporting documents (supporting documents section)
- details of community consultation
- submissions received during the community consultation process
- the Section 20B community conference report
- responses to the Section 22 notice requests for further information, including a human health risk assessment
- the independent technical review
- EPA's assessment report.
What a works approval is
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970, a works approval was required for:
- industrial and waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impact
- plant and equipment to be installed, the operation of which will result in one of more of:
- the discharge of waste to the environment
- an increase in, or alteration to an existing discharge
- a change in the way waste is treated or stored.
Under the Environment Protection Act 2017, works approvals have been replaced with development licences.
EPA conducted an extensive technical assessment of the proposal. We sought the expertise of a range of Victorian government agencies and independent experts. This included the engaging an international expert to review the proposed process and provide recommended improvements including considering international best practice. The expert’s technical report was reviewed by EPA and we included the report's recommendations into the works approval's conditions.
We engaged comprehensively with the community during the works approval process. We extended the public consultation period, we held a section 20B conference and implemented recommendations from the conference including that we require Chunxing to conduct a human health risk assessment. The health risk assessment is available as Appendix 23, and can be found in Chunxing's response to s22 notices Appendices 21-30 (PDF 5.44 MB).
On 31 August 2020, EPA issued Chunxing Pty Ltd with a conditional works approval to build a used lead acid battery recycling facility in Hazelwood North.
EPA's works approval decision wasn't challenged at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
A conditional works approval means that Chunxing must satisfy a range of conditions by submitting the information to EPA to review and approve before construction work can commence.
We were transparent throughout the works approval process. The full application, supporting documents, the expert process review report and our determination are available on Engage Victoria.
Our Chunxing timeline (PDF 1MB) lists upcoming milestones of the project and the roles of Chunxing and EPA at each stage of the process.
Chunxing must meet all of the preliminary conditions of the works approval. EPA has endorsed these reports recently submitted by Chunxing:
- a construction environmental management plan
- an investigation report of baseline land and groundwater conditions
- a communications and engagement plan
- an off-site soil sampling and additional groundwater sampling report.
Chunxing are now able to commence works in accordance with their works approval and these reports.
We will monitor compliance with the conditions of the works approval during the construction stage. We will not provide approval for the commissioning of the plant unless we are satisfied that Chunxing has met all of the conditions of the works approval.
Once works are complete, Chunxing must obtain an operating licence under the Environment Protection Act 2017 to run the facility.
An operating licence comes with conditions that the duty holder will need to comply with to operate the facility. EPA monitors compliance with operating licences proactively, in response to notifications from the duty holder or if a pollution report is received from a member of the community. Compliance and enforcement is in accordance with our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
Reviewed 31 March 2022