Finding a sustainable solution to Australia’s hazardous waste problem.

Infrastructure development company Tellus Holdings’ Sandy Ridge geological repository will contribute towards a cleaner Australia by offering long-term storage for a large variety of industrial wastes.

Key information

Location: Western Australia, 240 kms North West of Kalgoorlie

Date started: 2019

Completion date: 2020

Client type: Natural resources

Key services: Project management

Cleaning up Australia

Hazardous waste poses a threat to the environment and human health and requires facilities that can meet strict waste acceptance criteria that is highly regulated.

A lack of suitable facilities in Australia has resulted in a growing stockpile in excess of one billion tonnes of waste. Currently, there is insufficient infrastructure at competitive price points to permanently solve the problem or recover valuable materials.

Acting as a geological repository, Tellus Holdings’ Sandy Ridge project is Australia’s first dual open-cut mine, in a 70m-year-old kaolin clay bed.

For the initial period, Tellus has permission to mine up to 290,000 tonnes of kaolin each year and receive up to 100,000 tonnes of hazardous waste a year.

When complete, the Sandy Ridge Kaolin Mine will be a fully integrated waste storage facility with the capability to store up to 2.5 million tonnes of intractable, hazardous and low-level radioactive waste for the next 25 years, and potentially beyond. Approximately 200 jobs will be created through the project.

Optimising investment

Hazardous waste management poses many challenges with new and pending regulations to support ecology and environmental sustainability.

Obtaining adequate funding and delivering projects within cost and schedule parameters is essential for projects to stay resilient in this complex regulatory environment.

Appointed as project management consultant, we supported crucial aspects of the project’s set-up and developed subsidiary management plans as well as the project master schedule, in line with Tellus’ strategy to deliver this environmentally significant project.

Our team of specialists also led the peer review of the bankable feasibility study capital cost estimate, which informed and supported Tellus management to accurately position the project budget and negotiations with the engineer procure construct contractor. In doing so we aided Tellus to advance the project to the final investment decision stage.

Throughout the construction phase, our team has helped Tellus maintain focus on delivering the project safely, compliantly and in accordance with cost, schedule and performance expectations.

Our approach to risk management and cost risk analysis enabled the project to identify and implement appropriate controls including mitigation strategies, highly regarded as the project navigated a period of significant change brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction began in summer 2019, with the facility forecast to be fully operational in August 2020.

Futureproofing for generations to come

To futureproof the Tellus Holdings investment, the project has used one of the world’s largest industrial air dome structures, which has been innovatively designed to not only eliminate the risk of water ingress during operations but also be re-locatable to future waste cells.

In collaboration with researchers, industries, waste generators and the waste industry, Tellus aims to support the circular economy by creating opportunities for the future recovery of valuable materials.

For further information contact:

Ettienne Cronje