Residents raise concerns over Incitec Kooragang plant

The Stockton Community Action group has raised fears over emissions from Incitec Pivot’s proposed ammonium nitrate plant on Kooragang Island.

The group believes that emissions from the plant may be higher than those from the existing Orica chemical plant on Kooragang Island, the ABC reports.

In December last year Incitec sought to quell fears over the plant, holding meetings with locals.

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 previously met with locals in late October, during which time Incitec said it would carry out a year long feasibility study for the $650 million plant.

"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," Woods said.

However Stockton group spokesperson Keith Craig has demanded the manufacturer provide more details of the nitrous dioxide levels the plant will produce, saying the initial figures are already concerning.

"I did ask them what level of NO2 would be emitted from the plant and they said less than 50 (parts-per-million).

"I said to them that’s not word’s best practice, there’s a 40 year old Nitric acid plant at Orica which is emitting between 40 and 50 NO2 and the third Nitric acid plant at Orica is emitting around 10 parts per million of NO2."

Incitec say that this 50 parts per million figure actually includes both nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide.

Craig also demanded details of how the local area will be affected if the plant ever exploded.

"We’ll be pushing to get that area affected by an explosion, those contours provided and I suspect they won’t do that, because they don’t want to scare the Novocastrians," he said.

"The community’s made it clear to them that they don’t want the Incitec plant located there."

Residents of Rockhampton raised the same concerns over a proposed explosives facility in the region.

Residents have voiced concerns over the dangers of a third explosives plant in the area and the increased levels of heavy vehicle movements, which could bring more than 700 extra trucks every month.

They also outlined the potential for the development to increase the flooding risk to nearby properties by diverting flows from Six Mile Creek, which would border the site.

Concillor Sandra O’Brien also claimed the addition of another explosives plant could make Bajool a likely terrorism target.


Image: Newcastle Herald

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