03 March, 2011

Pulp mill decision postponed

Nick Clark
The Mercury (article),  March 03, 2011

ENVIRONMENT Minister Tony Burke has postponed for a week an announcement about the final environmental approval for the Gunns Limited $2.5 billion pulp mill.

Mr Burke said the extension to the March 3 deadline for approval of Gunns hydrodynamic modelling had been extended at the request of Gunns.

It is understood Gunns wants regulatory approval for changes to the mill design foreshadowed at the company's annual meeting in October.

The improvements were sought after discussions with pulp mill opponents.

"Today I am extending that deadline for a further week until March 10, 2011," he said.

"Yesterday, representatives from Gunns contacted my department and indicated that the company was seeking tougher environmental controls than were contained in the original application.

"The company further sought that these more stringent environmental controls be incorporated with the other decisions I am to make on the environmental impact management plan.

"My department needs to assess these proposed variations to the original pulp mill proposal and allow the Independent Expert Group to examine these variations.

"I expect these processes will be complete, and I will be in a position to consider updated advice from my department, next week.

Shares in Gunns Limited have been placed in a trading halt pending an announcement about the environmental changes to the mill design.

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