Smelting company Nyrstar was given development approval for the $514 million upgrade of its Port Pirie operations in December 2013. URPS assisted in the preparation of the Public Environment Report that accompanied this Major Project. In particular, we undertook a land use analysis, visual amenity assessment and broad social impact assessment (i.e. employment, education). We also liaised closely with the acoustic consultants and the EPA to establish the appropriate baseline acoustic guidelines for operation of the new smelter.
The redevelopment of the Port Pirie Smelter to an advanced poly-metallic processing and recovery centre has a range of environmental benefits including ‘step change’ reduction in airborne metal, dust and sulphur dioxide emissions. There will also be significant reduction in community blood lead levels and improved hygiene conditions for smelter workers.
The significant improvement in blast furnace performance will also help improve the efficiency of Nyrstar’s operations, which is the major employer in Port Pirie. In this context, we see the upgrade of the Port Pirie smelter as being positive for the environment and positive for the South Australian economy. The new plant is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016.