Regrowth Kurri Kurri

These web pages provide information to the community about Hydro’s Kurri Kurri site, and plans for its future.

Kurri Kurri

1.Understand the permission model

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 is now formally closed. Since the closure, Hydro has been planning for its demolition, remediation of the site, and redevelopment of the site – which is now underway.
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. The following video provides a project summary and outlines the future plans for the site.

Project status

Clean up and decommissioning – COMPLETED

This low impact clean-up and decommissioning work could be done without any approvals. This work was undertaken prior to demolition work and is complete.

Stage 1 demolition – UNDERWAY

Development consent was granted by Cessnock City Council on 15 March 2016 and Stage 1 demolition work began in May 2017.

The work includes demolition of the majority of site buildings and structures, excluding structures such as the concrete stacks, buildings with a potential for reuse, buildings storing waste materials, and below-ground infrastructure. It’s anticipated the southern part of the smelter will be finished by the end of 2019 and the remainder during 2020.

Stage 2 demolition - APPROVED

This work was approved by Cessnock City Council in May 2018. It includes the demolition of the tall stacks and the removal of below-ground infrastructure.

Early Works Remediation – TENDER AND CONTRACT AWARD

Smaller sites outside the smelter footprint have been identified for remediation. Remediation will make the land suitable for its use under the proposed rezoning. Contamination in these areas is not related to the smelter activities. Most of the contamination is because of other uses in the buffer zone, including farming use, the demolition of sheds or houses with asbestos and the former municipal landfill site on Hart Road.

The remediation process will include stockpiling contaminated materials in a location adjacent to the smelter site, backfilling any excavations with natural material, sampling and validating the soil that remains and achieving sign off from an independent accredited Auditor, that the land is suitable for its intended use under the proposed rezoning. The temporarily stockpiled contaminated material will be placed in the containment cell once available.

This work is about to go out to tender with work likely to commence in late 2018.

Smelter Site Remediation (SSD 6666) – UNDER ASSESSMENT

The application for remediation works is now in the process of being finalised.

This includes excavation of contaminated soils and the on-site containment of these, along with non-recyclable waste material. These works are considered to be a state significant development and require an environmental impact statement (EIS). 

The EIS was on public exhibition in 2016 and open for community and agency feedback.

Hydro has finalised and submitted its Response to Submissions Report for review by the Department of Planning and Environment. The department will then make its recommendation and a formal determination process will follow. It’s anticipated Hydro will be in a position to award the main remediation contract in Quarter 1 2019.

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 in March 2016 (with conditions) from the DP&E under Section 56 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. One of the conditions was that the application for biodiversity certification related to the rezoning proposals must be resolved prior to a final decision. This certification is also currently under assessment.


Updated: May 4, 2018