Lithium re­fin­ery flawed

South Western Times - - Point Of View -

A FEW ob­ser­va­tions con­cern­ing the progress of the Ke­mer­ton (KSIA) lithium re­fin­ery pro­posal.

Along with ap­par­ent fi­nal­i­sa­tion of EPA in­put to the project, things are be­com­ing clearer as to the even­tual prac­ti­cal mall-ef­fect for the en­vi­ron­ment and the com­mu­nity, in other words the debit side of the ledger.

It has al­ways been known KSIA has a prob­lem with a high wa­ter table on per­me­able sand with sur­face drainage to the ad­ja­cent river sys­tem and on­wards to the Leschenault Es­tu­ary. In ad­di­tion there is an ac­knowl­edged leak­age of sur­face wa­ter into the sub aquifers.

Orig­i­nal plans in­cluded the con­struc­tion of two lined hold­ing ponds to ac­com­mo­date the un­doubt­edly pol­luted rain run-off from the al­most com­pletely sealed plant area and us­able as in­put to plant pro­cesses. Changes have now been made as the ponds will now be un­lined al­low­ing di­rect seep­age to the aquifers. In both in­stances any over­flow sit­u­a­tion in ef­fect in­cluded di­rec­tion to the Welles­ley River.

If there is any logic for the change it is prob­a­bly con­nected to the re­al­i­sa­tion that any high rain­fall event could well over­whelm the whole sys­tem. In its re­port the EPA rightly com­ments that the re­gion at times is prone to par­tic­u­late pol­lu­tion from sea­sonal fire and burn-offs. In the pro­po­nent’s out­put they seem to sug­gest there­fore there is no prob­lem with some ex­tra above that “nor­mal” sit­u­a­tion, an il­log­i­cal ex­am­ple of spin if ever. Like­wise with in­creased road traf­fic move­ments, both in the build and op­er­a­tional phase. As a 24/7 op­er­a­tion there will be times when the road sys­tem is ad­e­quate but the ev­er­in­creas­ing nor­mal traf­fic flow on high­ways dur­ing peak pe­ri­ods should be taken into ac­count. The spin that the road sys­tem is per­fectly ad­e­quate is plainly ridicu­lous.

Of course the KSIA Lithium project is largely about just truck­ing ma­te­rial – 700,000 cu m of fill im­ported to raise site level, raw in­put from Green­bushes, prod­uct to Fre­man­tle, tail­ings and waste to un­known. The to­tal sub­se­quent diesel fuel used must be of some con­se­quence to the C02 load on the at­mos­phere .

Just three per­ti­nent words di­rected at pro­po­nents of the project – eyes wide shut. Ge­off Tothill, Bin­ningup

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