Pasminco clean-up complete

Remediation of the old Pasminco lead works site at Boolaroo.  Pasminco worker Robert Simmons pointing to work happening on the 'Cell' where contaminated soil is gathered .
Remediation of the old Pasminco lead works site at Boolaroo. Pasminco worker Robert Simmons pointing to work happening on the 'Cell' where contaminated soil is gathered .

ELEVEN years after the Pasminco lead and zinc smelter closed, the site is up for sale and ready for a $750million redevelopment.

Remediation works on the site were complete, Pasminco administrator Ferrier Hodgson said.

Authorities say the clean-up is among the largest in Australia’s history.

The administrator gained NSW government approval to place 1.9million cubic metres of contaminated material in a 45-metre-high containment cell in a 19-hectare area on the site.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Do you know more? Want to share your story? Email dpage@fairfaxmedia.com.au

----------------------------------------------------------------------

‘‘We’re finalising the cell construction and capping works, which we hope to complete early next year,’’ Ferrier Hodgson director Richard Bastow said.

Colliers International is handling the sale of the site, to be known as Bunderra Estate.

Redevelopment, spanning 200 hectares, is planned to include 500 to 800 dwellings, new businesses, sporting fields and open space.

A Bunnings Warehouse has also been approved for the  site.

And Pasminco land known as the ‘‘triangle paddock’’ had been sold to the Stevens Group, with a 90-lot residential subdivision planned there.

A $9million roundabout at the site would be done by Christmas, with an official opening in the new year, Mr Bastow said.

Cardiff Central, a 16-hectare section on the northern end of the Pasminco site, had been developed as an industrial estate. 

‘‘Of 22 lots, we’ve sold all but six,’’ Mr Bastow said.

He said Ferrier Hodgson’s obligation had been to ‘‘remediate the site and try to recover money for Pasminco’s creditors, who are owed $2.6billion’’.

He said creditors had received 22¢  in the dollar and ‘‘the balance will be based on what we can sell the site for’’.

‘‘It’s not going to be much, given the stigma of it,’’ he said.

NSW Environment Protection Authority director of contaminated land and environmental health Craig Lamberton said it was ‘‘probably the largest clean-up program that’s happened in Australia’’.

‘‘That’s why we’re rather proud of it – we think it’s been a good turnaround,’’ Mr Lamberton said.

‘‘The site has been scraped back to rock, hazardous materials treated and taken off site and contaminants put into a large cell, which will be capped and turned into playing fields.

‘‘There’s still issues to negotiate about long-term management of the site, but it’s been a pretty big turnaround from 100 years of lead smelting.’’

Department of Planning documents show the cell has been designed to prevent contaminated material leaking or leaching.

The cell, to be constructed of non-permeable material, will also have a sophisticated drainage network built into its base.