Port Kembla's iconic copper stack will be demolished today and, as a result, the area where it has stood for almost 50 years will change forever.
The ABC reports that the structure was built in 1965. It is almost 200m tall and contains about 7000 tonnes of concrete, brick and steel.
Explosives will blow a wedge in the front of the stack and, as a result, it will fall in a pre-determined direction.
The stack originally contained asbestos. However, according to its owners Port Kembla Copper (PKC), that has all now been removed.
PKC General Manager Ian Wilson told the ABC, "PKC has done everything it can to demonstrate to everyone's satisfaction that the stack does not contain any residual asbestos hazard."
However, according to Yahoo!7, Workcover inspectors were unable to inspect the entire structure to confirm the absence of asbestos because ladders had been taken out.
"They only looked at lower levels of the stack," Greens MP David Shoebridge told 7News.
"I think three of 20-odd levels of the stack, most of it has not been investigated."
Residents from 250 nearby properties were to be evacuated from 7.30 this morning and, after the demolition, inspectors will check the exclusion zone for contamination before anybody is able to return.
As the Illawarra Mercury reports, many local residents have mixed emotions about losing the Port Kembla copper stack.
Gary Gracie told the Mercury that it was a good thing that it will be going because it may have deteriorated and fallen on his house. But he said he will miss it.
‘‘It’s a landmark, it’s where I tell people I live, it’s where I find my way home, it’s where I look when I’m at the golf course and know where home is,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ll miss it in that way but what’s going to happen to it in 20 years time?’’ he asked
‘‘It’s going to fall down anyway.’’