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Update on ANZ and Gunns Limited's proposed Bell Bay Pulp Mill

ANZ is a potential financier of the proposed Bell Bay Pulp Mill in northern Tasmania. The mill is being proposed by Gunns Limited, an ANZ client since 1995.

Any project of this size and complexity involves many questions involving a wide range of stakeholders, with differing perspectives.

 

It is in our interest to ensure that all risks that potentially influence the long term financial viability of a project – including credit, social and environmental - are fully understood, and will be managed by the client over the long-term, before any financing decision is made.

 

This update is to clarify for our stakeholders our decision-making process on the Pulp Mill proposal, including which issues are relevant to us as a potential financier and how we will address these in accordance with the Equator Principles

 

Has ANZ made a decision?

 

ANZ has not made a decision on whether to finance the project and will only do so once we have considered our client’s proposed compliance with all government conditions.

 

The Tasmanian Parliament approved a permit for the mill on 30 August. This approval carries with it detailed operational conditions for the proposed project. These conditions were based on the findings of two reports the Tasmanian Government commissioned on the pulp mill proposal – one looking at environmental aspects of the proposal and the other exploring the economic and social impact of the mill. 

 

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Water Resources approved the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 on 4 October, subject to Gunns satisfying 48 conditions. The conditions include effluent management measures and protection of wildlife and vegetation.

 

ANZ’s decision making process

 

ANZ has commissioned an independent technical review of the proposed pulp mill to inform our decision. We will base our decision principally on the outcomes of this review and the project’s ability to comply with all government approval conditions.

 

The review is testing the technical aspects of the mill’s design and its overall feasibility with reference to engineering specifications, design plans and other supporting information. 

 

As this project proposal involves significant social and/or environmental issues, the technical review will also include an assessment of the adequacy of measures proposed by the company to manage these risks on an ongoing basis. 

 

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