Sandy Ridge Facility Now Open for Business – Providing Key Enabling Infrastructure for COVID-19 Economic Recovery

  • On : October 9, 2020

Tellus Holdings Ltd (“Tellus”) is pleased to announce that its Sandy Ridge Facility, the first commercial near-surface geological repository in Australia, is now open for business, providing key enabling infrastructure to Australia during the COVID-19 recovery. Sandy Ridge’s world-class safety case ensures that difficult to manage waste streams can be permanently isolated from the biosphere, protecting current and future Australian communities, our environment and helping the waste industry develop in a sustainable and responsible manner. With additional in-ground and surface infrastructure they can also provide long term storage (retrievable), treatment, recycle and recovery services that support the circular economy.

This milestone was triggered by the Western Australia (WA) Government approving a robust financial assurance and insurance framework for the Sandy Ridge Facility. This approval now allows us to expand operations (in line with approvals), and enable additional jobs, industry and sustainability across WA.

This news release summarises Sandy Ridge’s:

  • World class financial assurance and insurance framework, which was just approved;
  • Ability to drive direct and indirect jobs in the post-COVID environment;
  • Direct support of government and industry’s waste and sustainability policies; and
  • Numerous other benefits to WA, clients, environment and the community.

World class financial assurance and insurance framework

Approved by key decision making authorities: The Honourable Stephen Dawson MLC, Minister for Environment, Disability Services, Electoral Affairs and the Honourable Ben Wyatt MLC, Minister for Finance, Aboriginal Affairs, and Lands have signed off Tellus’ financial assurance and insurance framework that gives confidence to regulators, clients and the community that the Sandy Ridge Facility is prepared for and protected against any plausible uncertainty. The assurance was a condition precedent linked to staged operations (in line with approvals) that formed part of the 99- year Crown Lease announced in December 2019.

Multiple Layers of Assurance (Bonds and Trust Fund) and Insurance: The confidence of our assurance and insurance regime is underpinned by the following framework which includes:

  • Over $100 million of construction insurance;
  • Over $422 million of operational related insurances, comprising:
    • $322 million of ongoing general operational insurance; and
    • $100 million of operational and closure environmental liability insurance unique to Sandy Ridge, backed by a consortium of leading specialist international underwriters;
  • Assurance bonds; and a
  • Material trust fund managed by an independent trustee, which requires additional funding each year during Sandy Ridge’s operations. The amount of funds in the trust will be regularly verified by independent experts and the WA government.

 

Independently Reviewed: Tellus also commissioned UK based firm Eden to independently review Tellus’ proposed financial assurance framework and provisions at Sandy Ridge. The review confirmed that the proposed financial assurance framework is considered appropriate both in terms of its quantum and structure.

Expanding direct and indirect jobs during post-COVID recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of both direct and indirect jobs in local and regional WA. With the assurance and insurance now in place, Sandy Ridge has achieved another important milestone and can start providing additional services to clients and industry within all States and Territories of Australia and consistent with Ministerial Statement 1078. This allows Tellus to expand our workforce and provide additional opportunities for sustainable, long-term employment and training at a local and regional scale.

For example, Sandy Ridge creates numerous job opportunities both within Tellus and in supporting industries:

  • Jobs in Supporting Industries and Projects: Most materially, Sandy Ridge will permit WA to approve and develop new projects in a sustainable manner, thus driving thousands of jobs. This is because Sandy Ridge can ensure that any resultant waste created by new developments can be permanently managed in a responsible and world’s best-in-class manner using environmental sound management (ESM) principles. Only Sandy Ridge can provide this assurance for legacy, existing production and emerging waste streams and only Tellus can issue a valuable Tellus Permanent Isolation Certificate (Tellus PICTM).
  • Construction Jobs: We created approximately (~) 80 direct or full time equivalent (FTE) jobs and ~ 200 indirect or part time equivalent (PTE) jobs over the 22-month construction period. At the peak of construction we had over 100 workers at site.
  • Operational Jobs: During operations we will have ~ 50 direct jobs and ~ 100 indirect jobs as we ramp up to full capacity and, we have built a modern 71-person village at site to accommodate the workers.
  • Tellus has a buy local and hire local policy and will continue to work to source future employees from our local communities.
  • Future Circular Economy Jobs: Tellus additionally proposes to build a circular economy technology park, which will further expand our work force. For every 3,000 tonnes of waste arriving on site, one additional direct job and ~ 2-3 additional indirect jobs could be created.

Supporting government’s and industry’s sustainability policies

The Sandy Ridge Facility is an example of leading infrastructure that meets and supports the Government of Western Australia’s waste legislation, regulations, policies, business plans and strategies with the objective of protecting the environment by managing waste responsibly.

The Sandy Ridge Facility will contribute towards meeting the “recover” and “protect” targets within the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recover Strategy 2030 and associated Action Plan 2020-21. The operation of the Sandy Ridge Facility will help address the 2030 target which states “all waste is managed and/or disposed to better practice facilities”.

The Sandy Ridge near-surface geological repository in a semi-arid area is a “better practice facility” that meets strict site selection criteria, has been developed, and will be operated against world class best practice techniques for managing Class IV and Class V intractable wastes (hazardous waste) that meet the requirements of “disposal” within the 2030 Strategy.  In due course, the Sandy Ridge Facility will assist in meeting longer term goals associated with circular economy for the waste industry.

Other facility benefits

The Sandy Ridge Facility will result in significant and long-term positive environmental, social and economic benefits to the Goldfields region, WA and Australia. Other benefits include or could include:

  • Ensure new projects and industrial developments can be completed in a sustainable manner
  • Boosting the economy through
    • Capital expenditure over 22 months.
    • Operating expenditure over 25 years.
    • Royalties, taxes and levies

     

  • Local business support
  • Innovative, safe and secure permanent isolation and long-term storage for hazardous (Class IV and Class V) chemical waste and Low-Level Radioactive Waste in regional WA
  • Supporting the circular economy by providing an opportunity for the future potential recovery of valuable materials (that are currently deemed waste)
  • Attracting new waste recycling and recovery industries to WA
  • Diversifying local and regional economies in the Goldfields
  • Creating long-term inter-generational job opportunities
  • Fulfilling Australian and WA government’s environmental and waste policy goals and objectives such as the 2030 Strategy
  • Opportunity to clean up legacy industrial and commercial operating sites and emerging waste streams across WA.

About Tellus Holdings

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:

Visit our project website – www.tellusholdings.com

Phone us at: +61 (02) 8257 3395

E-mail us at: info@tellusholdings.com

Or visit the WA Government website – https://www.epa.wa.gov.au/proposals/sandy-ridge-project