Proposed lead acid battery recycling plant in Mooroopna

By James Bennett

A Chinese-owned recycling company is proposing to establish a used lead acid battery recycling plant north of Mooroopna.

In a letter obtained by The News, developer Chunxing Corporation says it plans to process about 50 000 ULABs a year at a site on Echuca Rd.

But chief executive Lakshman Jayaweera said it was merely an introductory letter.

"We haven't really looked much into the Mooroopna area and we haven't bought anything; we're looking at a number of places," Dr Jayaweera said.

"At this stage it's nothing at all. We will have a better look at Mooroopna in about three to four months."

The letter said Chunxing will not proceed with the $30 million capital works without Environment Protection Agency, local council and community environmental approval.

The plant would be responsible for three stages:

• Stage one: physically breaking down batteries.

• Stage two: plastics and spent acids turned into "value added products".

• Stage three: melting and smelting lead components recovered into refined lead.

Chunxing says it will use the same technology, including "high-quality environmental and technology standard", as at its plant in China and "is a well-recognised company by the Chinese government".

The letter claims it will bring significant "financial, social and environmental benefits" to the region by pumping $10 million into the local economy annually.

Greater Shepparton City Council said it had not received any development application from the company.

Although Dr Jayaweera would not reveal other proposed locations, a petition was set up two months ago by Hazlewood North residents asking people to sign up against the same type of recycling plant in the Latrobe Valley. 

That petition has gathered more than 950 signatures.

The EPA said it had not received any works approval applications by Chunxing for the proposed Mooroopna site or for Hazlewood North.