Orica has be given the greenlight for the construction of three new ammonia flaring systems at its Kooragang Island plant.
According to the company the development is part of its multimillion dollar investment program to improve the environmental performance of the ammonium nitrate plant.
Kooragang Island GM Scott Reid explained that flaring systems are considered global best practice for plants involved in ammonia use and production.
“This project will further improve our plant’s environmental performance by capturing and flaring ammonia emissions at safety release points. This prevents them from entering the environment and in turn reduces ammonia odours.
“Over the past three years Orica has invested more than $200 million delivering the largest environmental and capital upgrade in the plant’s 45-year history and this project is the next step in our program,” Reid said.
“It is anticipated that the flares will operate infrequently and should only be visible if activated at night,” Orica added in a company statement.
The Kooragang Island plant has had a chequered history of operation at the site, following a number of chemical spills and leaks from the plant.
According to Reid the new flaring system will help mitigate some of the risk of these incidents reoccurring.
Work is slated to start soon on the three flare stacks, which have heights of six, ten, and 20 metres respectively, with construction scheduled for the next three years.
The new program also includes an upgrade to ammonia storage vessels on site, as well as improved detection and isolation systems.
Orica has also been given approvals to build a new nitric acid tank as well, to improve storage capacity and increase “Orica’s flexibility to respond to changes in market conditions by providing scope to increase the production of ammonium nitrate at Kooragang Island from 430 ktpa to 500ktpa”.