Local health fears ignored as minister approves refinery capacity expansion

Friday, Aug 09, 2013

Dust emissions and odour issues from Alcoa’s Wagerup alumina refinery have been ignored by Western Australia’s environment minister Albert Jacob.

Pleas from residents of neighbouring Yarloop and Waroona have fallen on deaf ears as Jacob has given the American aluminium giant the thumbs up to increase the production capacity of the plant.

Despite claims that long-term health problems, such as cancer and organ failure, are caused by the plant’s dust emissions, Jacob claims that Alcoa has taken sufficient measures to reduce emissions and that the company will be required to publish results of its odour and air monitoring on its website.

Local appeals against Alcoa being reissued with a licence for a co-generation power plant on the refinery site have also been declined by Jacobs, who believes that the company has taken sufficient steps to ease the fears of the local population.

Alcoa was fined $45,000 in 2010 for allowing visible dust to escape from the plant.

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