Contract Resources has today opened its new $25 million mercury waste treatment facility in Karratha, months after a Dutch company announced it was starting construction of a similar plant in Kwinana.
The Gap Ridge processing facility has the ability to process about 3,500 tonnes of mercury-contaminated waste annually, with Woodside Petroleum set to become the plant’s foundation customer.
Mercury is generally a by-product of oil and gas production, and the level of waste requiring processing in WA is growing as major projects come online.
Three new LNG plants were switched on in the past decade and more are soon to start operation.
According to Contract’s development application with the Department of Environmental Regulation, the annual production for the facility includes 1,000t of chemical or oil recycling, 3,500t of liquid waste and 3,500t of solid waste.
Contract chief executive Adam Machon said the plant was the largest in the southern hemisphere.
This facility can process all mercury-contaminated waste produced in Australia by the oil and gas sector now, and into the future, eliminating the need to export this waste, and fulfilling Australia’s obligations under the Basel Convention,Adam Machon
“The export of mercury contaminated waste has always and continues to concern us, due to the risks of the combination of road, rail and shipping transport, loss of the custody chain and recent high-profile cases of mercury waste being dumped illegally overseas.”
Mr Machon said the facility eliminated that need to export mercury waste from Australia.
“Through combining the world’s best practice processing technologies and Contract Resources’ 30 years of industry experience, the Contract Resources’ Gap Ridge Processing Facility has set a new benchmark globally for the safe treatment, recycling and processing of domestic and export-destined mercury contaminated waste from the oil and gas sector,” he said.
We are the most experienced mercury-contaminated materials handling contractor operating in Australia, and are committed to developing innovative, safe and environmentally compliant, mercury management solutions to ensure the safe treatment and recycling of mercury related waste.Adam Machon
Sydney-based Contract is a subsidiary of New Zealand investment company Hellaby Holdings.
Pindan completed a $6.3 million construction contract as part of the project.
The opening comes after BMT Mercury Treatment announced in April that it had begun construction of a $10 million treatment plant that will be capable of processing 1,000 tonnes of mercury waste annually.
BMT is aiming to begin operations early next year.
The other player in the market is Victoria-based CMA Ecocycle, which operates a facility in Campbellfield.
About a $1 billion of waste treatment projects are under way or planned in WA.
Among them is Phoenix Energy and Macquarie Capital’s planned $400 million waste-to-energy plant in Kwinana.
New Energy Corporation has also proposed a waste-to-energy facility in Rockingham worth a similar amount, and a further $200 million on a plant in Port Hedland.