The Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has approved a demonstration plant that will trial producing magnesium and other industrial materials from brown coal power station waste.
Latrobe Magnesium Limited’s (LML) proposed facility would be built in the industrial precinct at 320 Tramway Road, south of Morwell in Victoria.
The EPA has granted a Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) approval that includes a list of legally enforceable conditions to protect the environment and the community.
LML’s proposal is for a pilot plant that would use 24,000 tonnes per year of fly-ash from the Yallourn Power Station to produce 3,000 tonnes of magnesium metal. The fly-ash is a waste product from the burning of brown coal and would otherwise be sent to landfill.
The company also plans to investigate the reuse of the wastes produced, in road construction and the production of steel, agricultural fertiliser, barbecue fuel and cement. Yet this will require additional approvals from EPA.
The EPA RD&D approval allows the construction and operation of the demonstration plant, subject to strict conditions covering:
- The design of the plant
- Environmental management
- Sampling/testing and reporting to EPA
- Control of noise, stormwater, air quality, odour and any emissions
- Prevention of land or groundwater contamination
- Emergency response plan
- Prompt reporting of any non-compliance
The EPA RD&D approval also requires LML to provide a detailed decommissioning plan for the closure and removal of the facility after 18 months.
Construction of the plant is proposed to commence in March 2021, with completion by March 2022. Commissioning of the plant would begin in March 2022.
Results gained through the demonstration plant are intended to inform the design of any potential future commercial-scale facility.
The EPA RD&D approval is not the final step for the proposed facility, although it has already been given planning approval by the Latrobe City Council.
The company hosted a community information session in Traralgon during December 2019 and has advised EPA of its plans for more public sessions, information materials, a regular email newsletter and stakeholder briefings.