Incitec Pivot is proposing to construct and operate a new ammonium nitrate manufacturing plant near Newcastle with a production capacity of up to 350,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate per annum principally to supply mining customers in the Hunter Valley.
The proposal includes a manufacturing plant, chemical storage tanks and product storage facilities; associated buildings including control room, laboratory, administration building, workshop and stores; and associated utilities, services and infrastructure including stormwater and wastewater systems.
The proposed plant would not include an ammonia manufacturing plant as ammonia would be imported onto site via ship. Ammonium nitrate would be stored onsite as solid prill and would be transported by truck to mining customers in the Hunter Valley.
Ammonium nitrate solution would be stored on site and would be transported by truck to Incitec Pivot’s facility at Warkworth in the Hunter Valley.
The ammonia storage and road tanker facilities would also be utilised to meet local farming requirements.
The department of planning will write to around 2,000 residents in nearby suburbs including Stockton, Mayfield East and parts of Tighes Hill and Fern Bay to advise them of the exhibition period.
As well as planning approval, the proposed development would also require the proponent to obtain relevant permits and licences, including an amended or new Environment Protection Licence from the Environment Protection Authority, according to the department of planning.
“Incitec Pivot has been asked to undertake a rigorous assessment of the potential hazards and risks of the proposed development, and the cumulative impacts of the proposal considering other existing and proposed developments in the surrounding area,” it said.
“Cumulative impacts will be carefully evaluated during the department of planning and Infrastructure’s assessment process and independent hazard and air quality experts have been engaged by the department to provide additional advice.”
The department, after obtaining advice from other government agencies including the EPA, also required the Incitec Pivot to address a range of other issues in the environmental impact statement including air quality and odour, noise, soil and water impacts, greenhouse gas emissions, waste, flora and fauna and visual impacts.
Should the project proceed, it is anticipated that the construction phase would last 28 months, starting in the first quarter of 2013.
“Incitec Pivot firmly believes that it can develop the project in a manner sensitive to local concerns and that it does not pose an unacceptable risk to those local communities that surround Kooragang Island or to the environment,” the company said.