Resolution of southern waste issue welcomed

Collaboration between central and local government agencies, local landowners and NZ Aluminium Smelters has resulted in an agreement that will see stockpiles of aluminium dross, which is a by-product from aluminium production, removed from sites around Southland and Central Otago.

 The dross produces harmful gases when in contact with water.

 Environment Minister David Parker welcomed the agreement as a positive outcome to a challenging situation.

 “While details are still to be finalised and a formal agreement signed, I’m encouraged that the parties have verbally come to an agreement to share the multimillion dollar cost of its removal.

 “The removal of this waste is important to the protection of the local environment.  In particular I want to acknowledge the brokering role that the Gore District Council has played.  Likewise the Ministry for the Environment contribution has helped the parties come together,” Mr Parker said.

 “Obviously it would have been better not to get into this predicament in the first place.  This situation has developed over a number of years. Prior attempts to resolve it have failed. I believe primary responsibility for the by-product from the smelter should rest with the smelter.

 “Any future occasions will result in a response from central government.  But I am pleased that this situation appears to be resolved. 

 “I urge the parties to quickly finalise the agreement and make their respective financial contributions, so that the actual clean up can begin."