7 no 1, 1999
Letters to The LEAD Group Inc.
TO: Elizabeth O’Brien Editor, LEAD Action News
RE: Use Of Paragoethite By Pasminco
Thank you for the copy of "LEAD Action News" [vol 6 no 3, 1998]. With regard to Pasminco's treatment of jarosite and paragoethite materials, I note that the article on page 19 of "LEAD Action News" indicates that "Pasminco has implemented a process of co-treatment which involves modifying the waste product [jarosite] and sending it to Pasminco's Port Pirie lead smelter for treatment". This is not quite correct; my understanding is that jarosite is no longer produced by the process used at Pasminco's Risdon smelter. Instead, the intervention occurs at an earlier step so that paragoethite is produced instead of jarosite. The paragoethite is suitable for use as a feedstock at the company's Port Pirie facility, whereas the jarosite was not suitable for such use. I am not aware of paragoethite being used in a similar process in Pasminco's Cockle Creek facility. However, I would note that there were so many factors involved in optimising the paragoethite for use at Port Pirie that it would be surprising if it was suitable for use at the Cockle Creek facility.
Dr Geoff Thompson
TO: David Sinclair, Pasminco, Melbourne.
Date: 4/4/99 Easter Sunday Fax No: 03 9288 0406
It’s been a year since we last met [at the National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) on Air Quality workshop].
I am preparing to publish another issue of LEAD Action News and would like to know if I can quote you as saying at the NEPM Air workshop in Arncliffe in March 1998:
"All point sources in Australia will comply with the 10% maximum of (young) kids above 10 µg/dL by the end of 1998 (the NHMRC [National Health and Medical Research Council] target)"
Do you have anything to add?
I did not make such a statement about point sources. I did however say the national survey of lead in Australian children published by Donovan et al in 1996 found that 92.7% of children were less than the NHMRC goal of 10 µg/dL and that the 1998 NHMRC target of 90% µg/dL had already been achieved.
[I suggest someone needs to] prepare a list of the uses that lead goes to, with the largest use of lead, imported or home made) being first on the list. Then research being undertaken to find out what could be substituted. The substitute would have to be of the same or lower cost or not much more expensive. Then it would be up to the Parliament to legislate for the banning of lead for those uses, hence forcing industry to use the substitutes. There is precedent for this as according to an old New Scientist article the Dutch tried recycling way back in the late 60s to early 70s and they failed as business wasn’t compelled to use the recycled material, hence it piled up. Working through the list from largest use to smallest one would expect to eventually reach a point of total elimination of all uses of lead (theoretically – as e.g. protection from radiation may necessitate some use?)
Andrew Gray, Mt Isa, Queensland
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