The Kurri Kurri smelter started production in 1969 but traces its history back to 1936.
Production at the site ceased in September 2012 and the smelter was formally closed in May 2014.
The smelter was a significant employer in the region and part of the local culture and identity of Kurri Kurri so Hydro aims to create a positive legacy for the site by preparing the land for industrial, business, and residential development; and by securing the conservation of a large proportion of the land.
Since the closure, plans for the future of the site have been significantly progressed, and demolition, of the site is now almost complete. Small parcels of land have been remediated, and a significant and final large remediation project has been planned for several years. The approval for this remediation, which include construction of a large containment cell, is expected shortly.
The following video provides a project summary and outlines the future plans for the site.
Regrowth Kurri Kurri
Early works – COMPLETED
This is the low impact clean-up work that can be done without any approvals. This is prior to demolition work and is completed.
Stage 1 demolition – completed
Development consent for Stage 1 demolition was granted by Cessnock City Council on 15 March 2016.
This included demolition of the majority of site buildings and structures, excluding structures such as stacks, buildings with a potential for reuse, buildings storing waste materials, and below-ground infrastructure.
Stage 1 demolition was completed in late 2020.
Stage 2 demolition
This includes the tall stacks and removal of below-ground infrastructure. Stage 2 demolition was approved by Cessnock City Council in September 2018 and are now almost complete.
Remediation - UNDER ASSESSMENT
This includes excavation of contaminated soils and the on-site containment of these, along with non-recyclable waste material. Remediation remains the subject of the State Significant Development (SSD) Application and the associated EIS for determination by the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces. Hydro expects the SSD Application to be approved soon.
Rezoning – UNDER ASSESSMENT
The site covers around 1900 hectares and is predominantly zoned as rural land. Hydro has applied to rezone around 215 hectares for employment activities, around 180 hectares for residential development, and around 1250 hectares for conservation purposes. The remaining 235 hectares would remain as rural land.
The rezoning proposals were endorsed by both Cessnock City Council and Maitland City Council in 2015 and received Gateway approval on 23 March (with conditions) from the Department of Planning and Environment under Section 56 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. One of the conditions was that our application for biodiversity certification related to the rezoning proposals must be resolved prior to a final decision. This certification is also currently under assessment. Another was the requirement for a flood study to be completed which takes into account the Tester’s Hollow area. The flood study was completed in 2018.
The rezoning process is ongoing.