Blue Bush Project Update – Tellus receives SEARs from NSW Government and Starts Preparing EIS

  • On : November 13, 2020

Dear Stakeholder,

Tellus Holdings Ltd (“Tellus”) is pleased to provide an update on our proposed Blue Bush Project.

On 4 November 2020, Tellus received the NSW Planning Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) from the NSW Government that is used by the company for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Blue Bush Project.

The project has been awarded State Significant Development (SSD) status.

The Blue Bush Project comprises a proposed near-surface geological repository (the Blue Bush Facility) and a proposed transfer station (the Blue Bush Transfer Station) located in the far west region of NSW, near Broken Hill.


Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs)

The draft environmental scoping report (ESR) was initially lodged with the NSW government (NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE)) on the 18 September 2020. After further consultation with DPIE the final version was lodged on 7 October 2020. With the ESR, DPIE could then prepare the SEARs in consultation with relevant public authorities. The ESR and SEARs have now been published on the NSW Planning Portal (Major Projects). For the link please see “Further Information” below. The SEARs now allow Tellus to formally prepare the Draft EIS that must take into account all State and Commonwealth legislative requirements and any additional environmental assessment requirements issued by the Secretary.


State Significant Development (SSD)

The project has been awarded State Significant Development (SSD) status and is regulated under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, which requires a proponent to apply to the NSW Government for development consent, supported by an EIS.


Next Steps

We are now at Step 3 of 10  steps in the NSW Planning Approval Process:

  • Step 1: Prepare Scoping Report (Tellus)
  • Step 2: Prepare SEARs (NSW Government)
  • Step 3: Prepare EIS (Tellus). WE ARE HERE
  • Step 4: Arrange EIS Exhibition (Tellus)
  • Step 5: EIS Exhibition (Tellus/NSW Government)
  • Step 6: Collate Submissions (NSW Government)
  • Step 7: Response to Submissions (Tellus)
  • Step 8: Assessment (NSW Government)
  • Step 9: Recommendation (NSW Government)
  • Step 10: Determination (NSW Government)


Preparation of the EIS

Tellus has commenced preparation of the EIS. This has involved the following baseline studies being undertaken by both internal and external technical specialists:

  • Groundwater
  • Surface water
  • Traffic and access
  • Biodiversity
  • Heritage
  • Air quality and greenhouse gases
  • Amenity (noise, odour, visual)
  • Social
  • Economic
  • Land
  • Hazards and risks


Australian Government Referral

Tellus has also submitted a referral to Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment for the Blue Bush Project so they can identify if the project qualifies as a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cmth) (EPBC Act).


Community Engagement

Tellus commenced a phased community engagement ramp up process in line with our Blue Bush Project Community Engagement Strategy. Tellus uses strict site selection criteria based on an evidence based “safety case” that has been crafted based on years of experience and learnings at Chandler and Sandy Ridge.  The first three exploration drilling programs and early studies for Blue Bush provided the initial evidence that the potential proposed project will meet our site selection criteria; however, the project is still in its early phase.

  • On the 18 September 2020 Tellus announced we had submitted an Environmental Scoping Report (ESR), which is now on the NSW government web site and also accessible via a link on Tellus’ website.
  • A detailed presentation and fact sheet that we gave to a number of stakeholders is on our website.
  • For further information please refer to the links provided below.
  • The ESR provides preliminary information on the proposed project and its potential impacts and supports a request for SEARs. Now that the SEARs have been granted, we can proceed to the EIS preparation and next phase of stakeholder engagement.
  • Tellus will continue to engage with the local and broader community through each stage of the approvals process.
  • Tellus will hold the first round of pre-EIS community drop-in sessions in Broken Hill on 24, 25 and 26 November 2020.


Project Timeframes

  • The EIS is likely to be submitted by Tellus in late 2021.
  • Tellus is aiming for a three-year approval timeframe for the Blue Bush Project.
  • A final investment decision is required before construction can commence.
  • Construction is likely to take up to 18 months.
  • Operating life of the Blue Bush geological repository is expected to be up to 25 years.


Project Benefits and Jobs

If approved, the proposed Blue Bush Project could result in significant and long-term positive environmental, social and economic benefits to the Broken Hill region, NSW and Australia. These benefits could include:

  • Providing an innovative, safe and secure permanent isolation and long-term storage facility for hazardous chemical waste in regional NSW.
  • Providing an opportunity to clean up legacy lead issues in Broken Hill.
  • Providing opportunities for sustainable, long-term employment and training at a local and regional scale in NSW.
  • Job Estimates
    • About 80-120 full time equivalent (FTE) and 200 – 300 indirect jobs generated during the peak of construction.
    • About 50-90 FTE jobs and 100-225 indirect jobs generated during operation.
  • Diversifying local and regional economies in the Far West Region of NSW.
  • Boosting the economy
    • Capital expenditure is estimated to be > $100-150 million.
    • Operating expenditure is estimated to be tens of millions of dollars per annum over 25 years.
    • Royalties, taxes and levies.
  • Providing local business support.
  • Fulfilling the Australian and NSW government’s own environmental and waste policy obligations.
  • Supporting the circular economy by providing an opportunity for the future potential recovery of valuable materials (that are currently deemed waste). The project could attract new waste recycling and recovery industries to NSW.
  • Serving as a partner in COVID-19 jobs and economic recovery, as Blue Bush would enable the launch of other new projects by providing them a safe and sustainable environmental solution.

About Tellus Holdings Ltd:

Tellus Holdings Ltd (“Tellus”) mission is to contribute towards a safer and cleaner Australia by developing a portfolio of geological repositories that provide waste storage, recycling, recovery, permanent isolation services and related commodity by-products.

For further information: