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Approval recommended for chemical manufacturing plant at New Chum

Ipswich City Council is considering a new chemical manufacturing plant at New Chum after a detailed assessment by both council and the State Government.

The developer/applicant Sun Mining Services Pty Ltd (with the consent of landowner Austin BMI Pty Ltd) had sought a material change of use at the former mining site, bordered by Whitwood Road, Austin Street and Barclay Street, New Chum.

A report presented to council’s Growth and Infrastructure Committee said the planned use includes the storage of raw chemical products in a secured compound, manufacturing of chemicals onsite, and the export of the manufactured chemicals from the site to be sold primarily to the mining industry, both within Australia and overseas.

“The applicant has operated from the site for approximately five years. Previously, the chemical manufacturing facility was associated with the function of mining operations onsite and was permitted through a mining lease that exists over the property,” it said.

“As a result of changes to the business operations and proposed increases in production (including exporting materials overseas), the proposed development can no longer be associated with the mining lease; thus council has received the development application.”

The report also noted the applicant had provided an Environmentally Relevant Activity Report which outlined mitigation measures proposed to minimise adverse impacts to air, water, land, noise and other environmental values such as litter.

“In addition, the applicant has also provided a Risk Assessment Report, which includes a manufacturing plan risk assessment and outlines safety measures associated with the operation (including appropriate separation distances from vulnerable facilities), security measures, emergency response plans, management of environmental risks and storage and treatment of waste,” the report noted.

“Of note are the security measures proposed on site which include fencing of the premises to comply with the Australian Standards, CCTV system, warning signs and security checks for employees.”

The application had been assessed and approved, subject to conditions, by the Department of Environment and Science (DES).

The operations will be overseen and enforced by DES, with appropriate conditions to manage the environmental risk of the activity in relation to impacts on environmental values under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

There were 87 properly made public submissions, with the majority of these relating to potential environmental and safety concerns with the proposed development.

“These issues were considered as part of the state’s assessment and appropriate conditions have been imposed by DES to manage the environmental risk of the activity in relation to impacts on environmental values under the act.”

Council officers recommended that the proposed development complied with assessment benchmarks and should be approved.

Interim Administrator Greg Chemello said one of the issues raised with council and the State Government was the possibility of prohibited explosives being manufactured on site.

But the committee was told that DES had received advice from the government’s chief inspectorate of explosives which determined that the chemicals being handled, stored or manufactured on site were not considered explosives.

There is still a current separate development application before council for BMI to use part of the site for a landfill and associated waste uses, which is yet to be determined.

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