Exide Technologies to sue govt over foreign battery recycling
Aug. 8 (BusinessDesk) – Exide Technologies Ltd., which operates the country’s only battery recycling plant, plans to sue the government for failing its international obligations to limit the global transport of hazardous waste.
Exide’s Australasian managing director John Cowpe says the Ministry of Economic Development, acting on behalf of Commerce Minister Simon Power, has granted permits to export used lead acid batteries, breaching the Basel and Waigani Conventions, which are meant to prevent developed nations from dumping waste on poor countries.
The battery recycler will sue Power and Environment Minister Nick Smith for granting the export permits.
“We do not have any batteries to recycle because the government has granted permits to export nearly 100,000 tonnes to developing countries like the Philippines and to Korea since 1 January 2008,” Cowpe said in a statement. “We believe the government has failed to meet these legal obligations in exercising its discretion to grant export permits.”
The battery recycler’s lawyers are today meeting with MED officials to discuss the litigation with a view to filing papers in the High Court this week.
The move comes after The Dominion Post reported the battery recycler may have to close its Petone-based plant on declining demand for its services.
Exide is currently applying for a new resource consent, and says it voluntarily offered to cut emissions as part of that application.
The lead recycling smelter’s consent runs out in November this year and the renewal process was uncertain, according to Exide’s 2010 financial statement lodged with the Companies Office.
Exide returned to profit last year, with net earnings of $7.7 million in the 12 months ended March 2010. That turned around a loss of $17.2 million a year earlier after the recycler boosted revenue 43% to $72.4 million, mainly from related party transactions.
Cowpe said Exide doesn’t want to create a monopoly to recycle batteries or see a ban on export permits for used batteries.