Gilbert + Tobin has advised global aluminium and renewable energy giant Norsk Hydro ASA (Hydro) on the remediation of its 2,000 hectare former Kurri Kurri Aluminium Smelter site which has been approved by the NSW Government, including the finalisation of an associated voluntary planning agreement.

State Significant Development Application SSD 6666 was recently approved, following the agreement and finalisation of a complex voluntary planning agreement (VPA) to be entered into between Hydro and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (Department). The approval and associated VPA will secure the remediation and long-term management of the former aluminium smelter in perpetuity.

The approval includes the remediation of an 80-hectare portion of the site as a containment cell for contaminated material, which the NSW Government will take ownership of once it has been completed and independently audited. The containment cell will be owned and managed by the Waste Assets Management Corporation, part of the Department. The ongoing management of the cell will be paid for entirely by Hydro, through a monetary contribution to be administered by the Department in accordance with the VPA.

The Regrowth Kurri Kurri Project is one of the most consequential and far-reaching deals for the aluminium industry in Australia in recent times. The Project will be a global exemplar for a fully sustainable, multi-utility residential and commercial services delivery model.

G+T’s Environment, Planning + Climate Change team worked closely with Hydro, the Department and its solicitors to develop the proposal and finalisation of the VPA. We advised on all aspects of the Project – including the VPA, rezoning, remediation, biodiversity conservation and long-term environmental management approval pathways for the Kurri Kurri site.

The G+T team was led by Environment, Planning + Climate Change partner Ben Fuller and Real Estate + Projects partner Amanda Hempel with support from lawyer Ben Hayward.

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