Council committee backs Orica's explosives store plan

MUSWELLBROOK Shire Council is expected to vote on the Denman Orica explosives store proposal in June after a council environment committee gave conditional approval to the project.

The committee, which considered the proposal early this year, recommended conditions including restricted hours of operations, a ban on heavy vehicles through Denman and a ban on the use of Thomas Mitchell Drive for ammonium nitrate transport until the major mine access road is upgraded.

Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush noted the committee's comments and recommendations, but said that contrary to reports, the Orica proposal had not yet been approved.

"Council has not yet determined Orica's application, and we would not be expecting to determine the application until next month," he said.

"The environment committee is an advisory committee that met three months ago and has given advice that it supports conditional approval.

"The council is still awaiting information from Roads and Maritime Services. The council is yet to assess all information before it in relation to this application."

An Orica spokeswoman said the present focus was to develop a storage site for 2000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, but the company never said expanded operations were "out of the question".

Any new proposal would involve a separate application, she said.

The possibility of further development of the former Rosemount site was a matter of concern for several environment committee members, including Peter Kennedy and John Shewan, and Denman resident Bruce Macpherson.

The environment committee described risk assessments associated with the project as not adequate.

Orica said the risk assessment was compiled within NSW government guidelines and risks associated with the project were considered to be "acceptable".

A development application for the reuse of the former Rosemount site was lodged with the council in January.

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