Environment

Our aim is to continue resolving historical legacy issues and to reduce the environmental footprint of our present production process.

 

Nyrstar acknowledges that 100 years of zinc production at the Hobart site has impacted on the local environment in which we operate. By using innovative and sound science we are addressing the legacy issues of past operations and creating a cleaner business for a sustainable future.

Our key environmental issues reflect, in general, the long site history and ongoing changes in regulatory standards.  They relate to the remediation of historical soil and groundwater contamination, by-product and waste management and reducing emissions to both air and the Derwent Estuary.

With a professional team of dedicated environmental staff, Nyrstar Hobart is progressively improving the environmental performance of the site.  The most recent highlights are outlined below;

  • During 2016 just over 100 tonnes of zinc and 2 tonnes of cadmium was recovered from the site’s groundwater.  Nyrstar operates eight extraction systems around the site, which intercept, extract and treat contaminated groundwater that could otherwise make its way to the Derwent Estuary. Recent additions include a 250 metre horizontal bore, that runs adjacent to the location of the previous Acid Plant.  The horizontal bore is intersected by a 20 metre vertical extraction bore, which recovers the groundwater captured along the 25o meter length.
  • Nyrstar Hobart has continued to progress the ~$9 million Electrolysis basement sealing project. By coating the Electrolysis basement floor with a poly-urea membrane we are preventing acidic or contaminated solutions infiltrating the soil beneath the building.  Approximately 90% of the area has now been sealed with the remainder of the basement to be completed in 2017.
  • Approximately 31% of the Nyrstar Hobart site is currently vegetated either by remnant bushland or through deliberate plantings.  Our vision is to reate a Smelter in the Park by increasing the vegetation cover on-site and demolishing redundant buildings.  Plants are thriving in the midst of our operations following the rehabilitation and revegetation of  various areas across our site including a 0.3ha area in the very centre of  our site.
  • Although not a regulatory requirement in 2009 Nyrstar Hobart commenced a project to eliminate the highly visible plume associated with the primary foreshore stack.  Though emissions from this stack have always remained within statutory limits, the plume detracted from the natural and social values of the Hobart area and the visibility of the discharge was a source of nuisance and concern to both Nyrstar and stakeholders such as the local community. In recognition of Nyrstar’s commitment to maintaining its “social license” to operate, a $12 million electrostatic mist precipitator (EMP) was installed on the foreshore gas system. The EMP has since been highly successful in eliminating the emission.
  • Nyrstar Hobart is a key industry partner of the Derwent Estuary Program (DEP). The DEP was established in 1999 as a partnership between state and local government and industry partners (Nyrstar, Norske Skog, Hobart Water and TasPorts) to provide a management framework for the restoration and protection of the Derwent Estuary. We have a strong involvement with the program through collaborative monthly monitoring and commitment of resources and funding.
  • In 2016 Nyrstar Hobart commissioned their Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plant.  The RO plant was the final step in the integrated Water Management Project, which focused on maximising the recycling of on-site stormwater and wastewater to displace potable water consumption with treated stormwater.  Since the plant commenced operations in April 2016, the volume of reused/recycled water consumed through the plant has significantly increased.  Construction of a 40 Megalitre detention basin was completed in 2014, providing additional stormwater retention capacity in the event of major storms, and in doing so reducing the chance of contaminated stormwater reaching the Derwent Estuary.  The Project was greatly assisted by the funding Nyrstar Hobart secured through the Federal Government’s National Urban Water Desalination Plan.

 

The cornerstone of our environmental activities is driven by the Nyrstar Environmental Policy Statement. This global document was developed in Hobart with representatives from all Nyrstar sites and is used to measure our environmental performance.

Nyrstar reports progress on sustainability issues at both a Nyrstar Group level and also at a site level for the Hobart smelter.

Our Group Sustainability Report includes performance of the major, wholly Nyrstar owned, operating sites. We believe that these sites encompass the material and significant risks and impacts of Nyrstar’s operations.

We use the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, Version 3 (G3) as the framework for the content and quality of our Sustainability Report. We also provide our summary of the completeness of reporting against the G3 guidelines.

A more-detailed presentation, summary and analysis of data collected at the Hobart site is reported in the Nyrstar Hobart Public Environment Report-prepared on a triennial basis. This report is an opportunity to examine the environmental performance of the Hobart site against our commitments and to monitor our progress particularly in the areas of air, water, land and the local community.

 

sustainability

 

 

Nyrstar Hobart holds quarterly community meetings for interested neighbours to come and hear about the operation and to ask questions. Local residents receive a direct invitation and the meetings are also advertised in the public notices section of The Mercury.

The outcomes of the meeting are published in the Nyr to You quarterly newsletter following the meeting.

If you don’t currently receive a direct invitation to our community meetings and would like to, please click here to be added to our distribution list.