Lead shipment will not threaten public health: WA Govt

By Angela Dorizas

The West Australian Environment Minister Donna Faragher has assured anti-lead protestors that shipments of Magellan Metals’ products through Fremantle will not threaten public health.

Earlier this week, protest organiser and Fremantle Mayor Peter Tagliaferri told GovernmentNews that the shipment of lead through Fremantle and surrounding suburbs could potentially cause a repeat of the 2005 Esperance disaster that killed thousands of birds and elevated lead levels in local children.

A spokesperson for the Environment Minister said the shipment of lead through Fremantle was a “very different situation from the bulk lead which was transported through Esperance.”

“Lead transported through Fremantle Port will be contained in double laminated sieve-proof bags, independently inspected before leaving the mine site and placed in secure sea containers before being transported,” the spokesperson told GovernmentNews, adding that the Minister was simply completing a process started by the previous government, as required under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

“It was the previous Environment Minister who gave conditional environmental approval to the proposal.

“The State Opposition said on numerous occasions, whilst in Government, that the proposal to transport lead through Fremantle was beyond best practice.”

The Minister denied claims of ignoring the public before approving the Magellan Metals proposal which had “been in the public domain for months”.

“With regard to the consultation process, Magellan Metals undertook a community information and consultation program and was required to release its plans for a four week public comment period,” the spokesperson said.

The Minister did not offer any guarantee that there would be no repeat of the Esperance disaster, but assured concerned communities that stringent measures were in place to prevent lead contamination.

“The current Government has implemented the most legally stringent and robust conditions ever imposed for a proposal of this kind.

“Given the comprehensive and independent advice provided from the EPA and the State Solicitor’s Office, as well as the consultation required under the Act, the Ministers consulted on this proposal are confident that the conditions set are the most rigorous conditions that can be placed on a proposal of this kind.”

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