Lead transport under review


Magellan Metals resumes normal transport operations from its lead mine in WA, but the implications of its route breach remain unresolved

Lead transport under review
Lead transport under review

By Anna Game-Lopata | March 22, 2011

Magellan Metals has resumed the transport of lead concentrate from its mine in WA, but the issue of the breach of its agreed route remains unresolved.

WA Premier Colin Barnett last week said his patience had been tested by the incident in which Magellan’s rail operator
diverted 10 trains carrying 159 containers of lead from Forrestfield Container Terminal to the North Fremantle Quay Rail Terminal using the Kwinana Container Terminal.

This was not the approved route by the WA’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

"The matter remains under active investigation and appropriate action will be undertaken, in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act, when the investigation is complete," says EPA Office
(OEPA) General Manager Kim Taylor.


"While the decision to divert the trains was made by the rail operator, the onus is on Magellan to ensure all of its approval conditions are met and the OEPA will take strong action in response to any breaches," he says.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion says the Government has indicated it will use any and all of its powers to ensure compliance with EPA approval conditions.


"I have made it clear that the government expects Magellan to adopt the highest standards of practice to ensure that the community is at no risk," Marmion says.


"In view of public concern about Magellan Metals’ compliance with its monitoring and reporting requirements, I have ordered an Environmental Protection Authority Section 46 review of the Ministerial conditions,"
the Minister
says.

"Through the review the OEPA will provide advice on the possibility of shipping lead carbonate in ingot form."

Both Magellan and the EPA have now completed soil sampling along the 12 kilometre route which reveals there is no Magellan lead in the environment.

Magellan’s Canada-based parent company Ivernia says the results are consistent with the long-term testing of over 3,500 samples from nearly 300 individual monitoring and sampling sites along the usual transport route from the Magellan Mine near Wiluna, to the Port of Fremantle.

"The sampling results clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of the industry-leading process developed by Magellan for the safe transport of lead concentrate in double-lined bags inside sealed steel containers," the company says.

Ivernia adds the decision to divert the trains was made without Magellan Metals’ approval or knowledge.

"Senior management of the contractor has assured Magellan Metals that this will never happen again," the company says.

Magellan has now amended its contract with the rail operator to ensure there are no future diversions.

While Magellan Metals voluntarily ceased transportation of lead carbonate once it was revealed the
alternative route had been used,
normal operations have now been resumed.

According to the EPA, there is no legal impediment to the company resuming regular operations in accordance with the Ministerial approval conditions.

"Therefore the ramp-up of mining and processing at the Magellan Mine has proceeded as planned, with concentrate being stockpiled at the mine site," Ivernia says.

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