Environmental management

HCCDC has been working on behalf of the NSW Government since the early 2000s to remediate and rehabilitate two former BHP sites around the port of Newcastle.

The sites include a 150 hectare former steelworks at Mayfield and associated waste emplacement facility at Kooragang Island (KIWEF).

HCCDC’s remediation and environmental protection works will open the potential for re-use of the sites and will unlock new and sustainable opportunities for our regions to thrive.

Site remediation

More than 210 hectares of contaminated former BHP land is being rehabilitated and remediated by HCCDC.

Awarded for environmental efforts

HCCDC received a Premier's Award in 2016, recognised for keeping the environment clean.

Sand replenishment

HCCDC is playing a role in the sourcing of sand for the future nourishment of Stockton Beach.

Remediation projects

Mayfield Steelworks

The $110 million remediation of BHP's steelworks site at Mayfield was formally completed in 2019, marking a major milestone in the city's transformation.

Our works involved a range of projects to contain or remove contaminants while returning the land to a productive state.

This included:

  • a 1.4 km long x 50 m deep underground ‘barrier wall’ to reduce groundwater flow toward the Hunter River
  • low permeability capping, reducing infiltration of rainwater
  • new major stormwater drains
  • demolition and land forming

The BHP Steelworks at Mayfield was established in 1915 and was vital to the regional and national economies until it closed in 1999.

Memorials to all those who worked at the Steelworks remain on the Mayfield site. The first, called Muster Point, is a large steel art installation paying tribute to the steel working skills on the BHP workers.

Another memorial installation was unveiled at the centenary of the plant’s official opening on 2 June 1915, paying tribute to those who lost their lives at the steelworks. The sculpture is a moving ‘’mourning circle’’ produced by Branxton artist and blacksmith Will Maguire.

Kooragang Island Waste Emplacement Facility (KIWEF)

The KIWEF is a former BHP landfill site that once received waste from the Newcastle Steelworks.

HCCDC is tasked with completing the closure of the site in accordance with NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines.

We completed the fifth stage of closure works in 2020, and the final and sixth stage of remediation work was completed in late 2022.

HCCDC also managed the successful extinguishment of a 12 hectare subterranean fire within the KIWEF site in collaboration with many State Departments and agencies.

The environmentally sensitive site is situated near the Ramsar listed Hunter Estuary Wetlands and contains habitat of the protected Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea). 

All closure works have been designed sympathetically to the local environment, including providing temporary refuges and migratory corridors for the frogs.

We will continue to work with specialists to develop strategies that contain and reduce environmental and health risks, while maximising ecological and sustainability outcomes.

Kooragang Island visit, three people standing on grass looking at land, high vis, near frog pond, HCCDC workers

NSW Premier's Award for protecting the environment

In 2016, our team received a NSW Premier’s Award for the remediation of the former BHP Newcastle Steelworks sites. 

This award is acknowledgement of one of the biggest and most important remediation projects in Newcastle’s history.

Stockton Beach sand replenishment


HCCDC is playing a role in the sourcing of sand for the future nourishment of Stockton Beach, in partnership with City of Newcastle.

We have engaged coastal specialist Bluecoast Consulting to conduct assessments of suitability of sand located in the South Arm of the Hunter River for beach nourishment as an alternative to sand sourced from offshore or terrestrial areas.

Capital dredging in the South Arm has the potential to generate clean sand of marine origin, some of which may be suitable for the synergistic nourishment of Stockton Beach.

We have specific experience in relation to major projects in the South Arm and more generally in relation to beneficial reuse. Refer to the Port of Newcastle Port Master Plan 2040 for more information.

The project is funded by NSW Department, Planning and Environment under the Coasts and Estuaries Grants Program, as an element of City of Newcastle’s Coastal Management Program.

We recognise the valued contribution of data made available for the project by Port Waratah Coal Services. This information was provided at nil cost to the state, as a public service to the Stockton community. Without this information, the study would not have been possible.

Mike Bardsely
HCCDC Environmental Manager