Birkenhead residents living near the Adelaide Brighton Cement factory fear a “massive increase” in dust, noise and vibrations if a proposed US$50m expansion goes ahead.
Adelaide Brighton flagged it was investigating options to increase its production capacity at the Victoria Rd plant, when the company announced its half-yearly net profit of US$68.8m to shareholders last week.
News of the expansion came as a shock to members of the Adelaide Brighton Community Advisory Group. Hilton St resident and group member Dr Brian Astill said: “It was quiet and tolerable at that stage ... but you couldn’t say that now,” he said. “I just can’t see how it can’t expand without causing a massive increase in nuisance.”
The group, which comprises two Environment Protection Agency (EPA) staff and two from Adelaide Brighton, meet quarterly to discuss issues associated with the plant.
Adelaide Brighton’s Birkenhead operations manager Vince Aurora said the proposal was at the “preliminary stage”.
“The first step will be an engineering feasibility study for an additional cement mill an estimated cost of between $40 million and $50 million,” he said in an emailed statement.
“If Adelaide Brighton decides to proceed to the planning stage, it will go to the community through the Birkenhead Community Liaison Group to consult and take into account local views.”
He said the company “commits to fully involving its neighbours at Birkenhead and the local Port Adelaide community in any expansion, should it proceed”.
He said if the investment proved to be feasible it would have to be approved by the council and the State Government’s environment agency.
“It will be subject to the normal approval procedures by a number of authorities, including the Environment Protection Authority covering licence approval and council approval for the physical construction of the new cement mill.”
The study is expected to be completed in 2011, with the aim of work starting in 2012, he said.