The South Australian opposition has accused the state’s government of dragging its feet on introducing legislation that would enable an upgrade of Nyrstar’s Port Pirie lead and zinc smelter.
The new legislation is part of a deal between the company and the SA government regarding a planned $350 million overhaul of the plant, which would lower emissions and improve air quality.
As reported earlier this year in Manufacturers’ Monthly and elsewhere, major development status was granted to the smelter in February. It followed concerns about reports of high lead levels in the blood of nearby residents.
“The transformation of the 120-year-old smelter into a new, cleaner poly-metallic processing and recovery facility will also see a significant reduction in lead emissions,” said John Rau, the SA planning minister and deputy Premier, in February.
The ABC reports that shadow manufacturing minister Hamilton Smith has said the legislation has bi-partisan support and should be brought before Parliament for discussion.
"There's a real danger that this will just be put off until much later in the year and that's not good for Port Pirie or for Nyrstar," the ABC reports Smith as saying.
Manufacturing minister Tom Kenyon replied that the bill was scheduled to be up for debate on July 23, but had been put before a select committee, and has said he hoped laws would be passed by the end of November.
"That process potentially can take a very long time, but we don't anticipate that," he said.
“Co-operation from the Opposition wouldmake that a lot quicker and then we can come back and finish the debate."