Tellus Holdings Ltd (Tellus) is planning to construct and operate the proposed dual revenue Sandy Ridge Facility (the Facility). The Facility would involve:
- Mining, processing and exporting of kaolin clay
- Long term safe storage, recovery or permanent isolation of hazardous and intractable chemical wastes and low level radioactive wastes, such as smoke alarms and fire alarms, into the stable void spaces created by the mining.
The Facility would become an arid near surface geological repository.
It would use a combination of (natural) geological and engineered barriers. These barriers would help to store and/or permanently isolate wastes from the environment over geological time.
If approved by the Western Australian and Federal Governments, the Facility would be located approximately 75km north east of Koolyanobbing, in remote Western Australia. The nearest permanent residents are located at the Carina Iron Ore Mine Accommodation Village, approximately 52km to the South.
The location was specifically chosen because of key environmental characteristics. Together, they make it ideal for use as a geological repository.
The Facility would be located on Crown land. The land is not regarded as having any current or future value for mining (of minerals other than Kaolin) agricultural or cultural purposes.
Kaolin would be extracted using the open cut method of mining carried out in campaigns.
The frequency of the campaigns would be dependent on the volume of waste requiring long term storage or permanent isolation but is expected to be once or twice every 12 months. Up to 40,000 (tpa) kaolin would be mined per year for use in ceramics, paints and for other industrial uses.
The mined voids would be filled with waste that would be segregated for safety reasons. The voids would then be backfilled (with kaolin) and compacted. A thick layer of low permeability clay would then be placed on top of the waste to seal the waste layers and to prevent water from entering the waste cell. Soil would be placed over the domed clay cap to enable future vegetation.
An average of 66,000 tpa over 25 years would be safely and securely stored or permanently isolated at the Facility. If approved, the Facility would be licenced to accept up to 100,000 tpa.
Waste materials will be stored on a like with like basis for safety but also to create opportunities as part of the circular economy for the future recovery of valuable materials. Tellus geological repository model follows similar facilities which have been safely and successfully operating in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America for many years and are regarded as a worlds best practice solution.SHOW LESS