By IAN KIRKWOOD
Nov. 3, 2012, 4 a.m.
Two-thirds of the former BHP steelworks site at Mayfield has been fully remediated, the Hunter Development Corporation said yesterday.
Nathan Tinkler’s Buildev Group has an agreement with the corporation to put an industrial park on the remaining third of the site, and remediation of that land would be done at the time of development.
Development corporation chairman Paul Broad said remediating the 90-hectare river frontage site was an $80million investment that would pay dividends in the form of future jobs and investment.
Mr Broad said 500,000 tonnes of capping had been placed over about 55 hectares of the 90-hectare site.
About 10,000cubic metres of asbestos-contaminated soil had been ‘‘made safe’’.
The steelworks shut in 2001 and remediation began in 2006 with an underground barrier to restrict the movement of groundwater.
“Monitoring and testing has shown the effectiveness of the project from an environmental perspective,’’ Mr Broad said.
The 90-hectare site had been transferred to Newcastle Port Corporation.
The corporation is developing the site for port-related uses but has been told by the state government it cannot be used for a full-scale container terminal using Botany-style ‘‘portainer’’ cranes.
A development corporation spokesman said the remaining 60hectares, which included the former BHP administration building, was still owned by the corporation.
The former Labor administration announced Buildev as the site developer in 2008, saying industry was expected on the site from as early as 2011.
The development corporation spokesman said progress on the site had been slower than forecast.
He expected Buildev to submit plans next year for the project, known as the Intertrade park.
Buildev had wanted to develop the site as a coal terminal but the state government rejected the plan.
A Buildev spokesman said the company had an excellent relationship with the development corporation.