Nyrstar will build a product recycling facility at its Port Pirie smelter to significantly reduce fugitive lead emissions and vastly improve the long-term health of the Port Pirie community, in particular the local children.

The Marshall Government is providing a $7 million grant and Nyrstar will pay for the rest of the $23 million total cost of the facility.

“I’m incredibly proud that Nyrstar and my Government have joined forces to take action to deal decisively with lead emissions and improve the health of the children of Port Pirie,” said Premier Marshall.

“This outstanding initiative will create 75 jobs at the peak of construction and sustain hundreds of jobs over the life of the project, delivering a significant economic boost for Port Pirie’s economy.”

The open area where materials are currently stored and mixed will be enclosed by a large facility that will reduce lead in air emissions by up to 25 per cent

Materials are currently processed in an open-air environment. The new 6,850 square metre structure (equivalent to more than 5 Olympic sized swimming pools) will store and transport feedstock materials along a covered conveyor belt to the furnace.

The facility will eliminate dust generated from exposed material stockpiles and in handling and transporting materials at the site. The facility will also be negatively pressured to contain fine dust particles.

Housing the storage and transport of materials in an enclosed facility prevents fine lead containing dust particles from escaping and affecting community health.

Preliminary works are expected to commence in early 2022. From approval the construction of the facility is expected to take less than 30 months to complete.

Nyrstar’s Vice President Australian Operations, Dale Webb, offered his thanks saying: “We thank the State Government for their support of our actions to make a significant and sustained reduction to lead in air concentrations in the community. We value the partnership approach to improving the health of the local community which we see as vital to securing a stronger future for metal processing in South Australia.”

“The recycling facility is another significant investment by the Marshall Government and Nyrstar to effect real change to reduce lead in blood levels of children in Port Pirie,” said Dan Van Holst Pellekaan, Minister for Energy and Mining.

“Despite the previous Labor Government promising that lead issues would be a ‘thing of the past’, it’s clear their efforts were not effective.

“Reducing lead in air requires a comprehensive approach that involves Nyrstar, the local council and the community working with the State Government to deliver a multi-pronged solution.

“We have listened to the community and improved the governance of TLAP by including representation from the local council and a TLAP community reference group.”

Last month Minister van Holst Pellekaan announced that Nyrstar and the State Government have agreed to extend Targeted Lead Abatement Program (TLAP) to 2034.

The State Government also announced a $2.5 million program to upgrade 43 Housing SA dwellings with young children in the areas of Port Pirie at greatest risk of exposure. Remediation works are tailored for each property and may include sealing the homes and improving outdoor areas to remove legacy lead.

A $875,000 master plan and greening strategy to better manage community exposure to lead in public spaces is underway. Baseline investigations for a master plan, a water supply feasibility study and small community grants will inform how green public spaces can be sustained and safely enjoyed by the people of Port Pirie.