Australia: Cockburn Cement criticised over health concerns

Published 21 October 2011

A year long Parliamentary inquiry into Cockburn Cement has found the company was complacent towards complaints by the community about dust and odour emissions. The WA Upper House Environmental and Public Affairs standing committee today tabled a 400-page report into the company’s operations.

It said Cockburn Cement was primarily responsible for the emissions, but it also criticised the state Government’s handling of the issue.

According to The West Australian the committee said Government agencies had failed to properly monitor the company and had not addressed planning issues associated with the plant’s production.

The committee said the Government should cut the plant’s maximum dust emissions from 150g/m3 to 30g/m3. According to The West Australian, this level could only be achieved with the use of bag-house filters.

A filter is currently being constructed for kiln six at the plant for a cost of US$25m. It is due to be completed in the first quarter of next year, and the company said if it was effective it would look at installing similar technology on kiln five.

In a statement the company said it could not comment fully on the committee’s 400 page report until it had been properly read.

However it said it was important to note it had not breached environmental rules.

“The company has been and remains in compliance with its licence for the Munster site,” it said. “It has not breached licence conditions. Emissions limits at the sire have become steadily stricter during the past decade and as a result emissions levels have also fallen.”