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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment


October 29, 1997

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has welcomed today's announcement by zinc producer Pasminco that it will cease disposal of jarosite waste at sea.

Senator Hill says this is well in advance of the company's obligation to cease disposal by 31 December 1997.

"I congratulate Pasminco on its successful implementation of a new co-treatment process and commend the company for its investment of more than $80 million to reduce pollution of the Australian marine environment.

"This action by Australian industry demonstrates that Australia is serious about cleaning up its oceans.

"It is but one action that will be taken as a lead up to the International Year of the Ocean 1998 and in the context of developing Australia's Oceans Policy."

Pasminco Australia Ltd was granted a special permit to dispose of jarosite waste at sea until 31 December 1997 to enable the company time to develop the co-treatment process. This process will eliminate the production of jarosite at the Pasminco Metals-EZ (PM-EZ) plant at Hobart and the need to dispose of it at sea.

"In December 1994, CSIRO released a five volume report of a comprehensive investigation of Pasminco's disposal of jarosite at sea. The study did not find any evidence that the disposal of jarosite had an adverse impact on the marine environment.

"Nonetheless the end of the disposal of industrial waste at sea in Australia represents a new beginning for Australia's oceans and meets international commitments the Government has given under the London Convention to cease oceans disposal of jarosite by the end of 1997."

Media contact: Matt Brown 02 62777640 or 0419 693 515

October 29, 1997

Commonwealth of Australia