Environmental management

HCCDC has been working on behalf of the NSW Government to remediate and rehabilitate the former BHP Steelworks site at Mayfield and associated waste emplacement facility at Kooragang Island. These works unlock new opportunities for potential site reuse and employment generation.

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 of 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 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.

Kooragang Island Waste Emplacement Facility (KIWEF)

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

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

We collaborated with State government departments and agencies to successfully extinguish a 12-hectare subterranean fire within the KIWEF site in 2019. We then completed the fifth stage of closure works in 2020, followed by the sixth and final stage of closure works in late 2022.

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.

HCCDC worked with specialists to develop strategies to contain and reduce environmental and health risks, while maximising ecological and sustainability outcomes.