Media statement - BlueScope Steel

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has been advised by BlueScope Steel that it will shut down its sinter plant, part of its steelmaking operations at Port Kembla, following investigations by the EPA into air pollution monitoring results showing that dioxins and furans, discharged from the plant, had exceeded their licence limit.

While safeguards have been built into the regulated emission limits, to minimise pollution and health risks, the EPA is concerned about ongoing emissions over these limits.

The EPA met with BlueScope on 2 May 2020 to discuss operational changes and modifications designed to lower emissions and the results of monitoring. At this meeting, BlueScope advised they would shut down the sinter plant, which will prevent further discharges.

The exceedances occurred while the waste gas cleaning plant pollution control system serving the sinter plant was shut down for scheduled major maintenance. This is allowed under BlueScope’s environment protection licence for limited periods of time.

The waste gas cleaning plant is scheduled to be operational by 8 May 2020 following completion of the maintenance.

The emissions are regulated under BlueScope’s licence and are a by-product of the sintering process, essential in steelmaking.

The EPA’s focus is on ensuring all operations, including essential maintenance, occur with appropriate safeguards in place, and that human health and the environment is protected. BlueScope is also required to ensure the community has access to relevant information about their environmental performance.