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Hazardous Waste Technical Group - 55th meeting

Friday 2 August 2002, 9.30 am - 4.30 pm, Tomago Aluminium Smelter, Tomago NSW

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Minutes

Present:

Chair
Professor Paul Greenfield

Members
Dr Peter Di Marco
Dr Peter Nadebaum
Mr John Hogan
Dr Peter Scaife
Ms Diane Kovacs
Dr Neill Stacey
Dr Jennifer Stauber

Observer
Dr Peter Brotherton

Secretariat
Mr Bob Angel
Dr Geoff Thompson
Dr Greg Rippon

Apologies
Dr Paul Brown
Mr Stephen Moore
Dr Robyn Eckersley
Mr James Johnson

Agenda Item 1. Draft Minutes of the 54th meeting

1. The meeting requested that para 12, last dot point, be modified by changing the beginning of the sentence to "Capacity of all three smelters..." and adding at the end of the dot point "exceeds the arisings of ULABs in the region".

Agenda Item 2. Matters arising

2. There were no matters arising.

Agenda Item 3. Progress report on operation of the Hazardous Waste Act

(a) Permit report for previous twelve months

3. The meeting was advised that the reason Simsmetal had applied for five permits to export fluff was because the UK competent authority viewed the shipments from five Australian ports as separate movements, each requiring a separate permit, because each movement followed a different route.

4. The Department of the Environment and Heritage was asked to clarify why Cockle Creek could not take the zinc ferrite that MIM proposed to send to an identical smelter at Avonmouth. Minor details of other permit applications were clarified.

Agenda Item 4. Technical issues arising from applications and inquiries

(b) Proposed export of spent potlinings

5. As foreshadowed at the previous meeting, the application submitted by Tomago on 1 June 2001 had been refused on 31 July 2002 because the competent authority in Italy had not responded to the Notification.

6. Tomago provided information on the current situation with spent potlining (SPL) at Tomago Aluminium. They are investigating a local solution in which SPL was processed in a rotary kiln on site to destroy the cyanide and reduce available fluoride, and then blended with other minerals to meet specifications for use as an industrial feedstock rather than disposal as a hazardous waste. A parcel of HiCal 60 product, containing about 50 tonnes of processed first cut SPL (carbon fraction) had been sent to an industrial plant for evaluation and testing. This was the first part of a trial that would involve 2,000 tonnes of SPL being processed for this use. Because this investigation was covering new ground, progress had been slow and methodical but the results had been pleasing so far.

7. The next phase, which was already underway, was to prepare a batch of refractory material utilising the second cut SPL. The resultant product was called Real 18 and the initial work on this was also showing promise. It was anticipated that 100 tonnes of processed second cut SPL would be generated this month

8. Storage space was adequate until end 2003 but there was now competition for the available space. With the current activity, some of this space was now required for storage and mixing of intermediate products and ramping up the operation to its full capacity involved installation of a larger crushing circuit which, for logistical reasons, they wanted to locate in the corner of one of the sheds currently allocated for SPL storage. Product storage and mixing requirements would also grow with the increased activity. To provide breathing space, options other than a new shipment were limited at this time.

9. The meeting inspected the Tomago facilities for storing and processing SPL, and received a detailed briefing on the process. Members expressed their appreciation to Tomago Aluminium for their hospitality and the high quality of the detailed briefing.

(c) Possible import of POPs wastes (oral)

(d) Possible import of Flue-gas Desulphurisation Gypsum to rehabilitate land

10. There was no discussion of these items.

(e) Proposed import of industrial waste water treatment sludge

11. The import application was being processed by the Department of the Environment and Heritage. Particular attention was being paid to the requirements that the waste be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner and that the recovery operation, which is "R10 Land treatment resulting in benefit to agriculture or ecological improvement", must be performed within a facility which is authorised to operate under applicable domestic law. The Department of the Environment and Heritage was seeking information from States and Territories on these issues.

(f) Proposed export of used lead-acid batteries to New Zealand

12. The meeting was advised that the Minister must make a decision by 8 August 2002.

(g) Standing Committee on Environment and Heritage: Inquiry into employment in the environment sector

13. The meeting advised the Department of the Environment and Heritage that it did not want to make a submission to the Inquiry into employment in the environment sector.

Agenda Item 5. Reports of international meetings

14. Greg Rippon would attend the mid-term regional review of the "Pilot Project for the Monitoring and Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes in the Asian Region", on 24-26 September 2002 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting would present an opportunity for him to discuss compliance and enforcement issues concerning the export of electronic and plastic wastes with his counterparts in the region.

Agenda Item 6. Work Program of the Technical Group

15. There was no discussion of this item.

Agenda Item 7. Criteria for separating hazardous from non-hazardous wastes

(a) Guidance on whether wastes containing metals or metal compounds are controlled under the Hazardous Waste Act

16. The meeting reviewed the most recent version of the guidelines, which:

17. The meeting agreed that the paper was generally better with a sounder philosophical basis. It made a number of suggestions, the main ones being:

(b) Hazard assessment of Y22 copper compounds

(c) Hazard assessment of Y23 zinc compounds

18. The meeting agreed to defer any new work on items 7(b) and (c) until work on 7(a) was completed.

(d) Hazard status of Ozone-Depleting Substances

19. The meeting endorsed the approach put forward in the agenda paper and recommended that the issue be referred to the Halon Essential Users Panel.

Agenda Item 8. Criteria for separating wastes from non-wastes

Agenda Item 9. Defining environmentally sound management

Agenda Item 10. Regional Centres

Agenda Item 11. Avoidance, minimisation and treatment of hazardous wastes

(a) Scoping study for the National Environment Protection Council National Management of Clinical and Related Wastes

20. There was no discussion of these items.

Agenda Item 12. Other Business

21. Members expressed their appreciation for the very high quality service provided by Anne Morris in processing their travel arrangements and financial matters. They asked that their appreciation be recorded in the Minutes.

Agenda Item 13. Dates of next meetings

(a) Friday 23 August 2002, Melbourne Airport Hilton

(b) Friday 20 September 2002

(c) Friday 25 October 2002