LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 9 no 1, August, 2008, Revised Version February, 2012, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News ( ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor-in-Chief: Tony Lennon

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Lead Letters – Asking The Lead Supplier To Cease Supply

After returning from Beijing, Elizabeth O’Brien decided to create a special appeal for donations to fund the follow-up activities arising from the meeting (see LEAD Group Homepage ) and to write the following letter a few days prior to the release of the Mount Isa Community Lead Screening Program 2006-07 report by Queensland Health.

1. Letter From The Lead Group To Xstrata

From: The LEAD Group

To: Mr Steve de Kruijff, [Chief Operating Officer, Xstrata Copper North Queensland]

Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 1:15 PM

Subject: Lead-Safety in Mount Isa and beyond - in fact, all the way to Burma

Dear Mr de Kruijff,

I've been envisioning a better future for you than the way things look like going once Queensland Health releases their Mount Isa children's blood lead study report on Thursday. Please reply to let me know that you have received this email. And please give some thought to its content and let me know how you plan to respond.

You likely are aware now of the Burmese government's inability to make humane decisions on the part of their populace. I became aware of this inability over the last four years in my capacity as a representative of the global community, that is, as a Partner (DEWHA is the only other Australian Partner) of the Partnership for Cleaner Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) - under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Burma is one of the "straggler countries" - 16 countries where leaded petrol is still sold for road vehicles - 16 countries that are either themselves unwilling to save their populations from this unnecessary lead exposure or who are dependent on fuel from such a country.

You also likely are aware that the lead in all that leaded petrol (which contributes to the continuing lead exposure of a quarter of a billion people) comes from Mount Isa's Xstrata operations. Xstrata's Mount Isa operations ship lead ore to Britannia in the UK, Britannia smelts it and sells lead metal to Innospec in the UK, who turn the lead into alkyl lead (which when added to petrol turns unleaded petrol into leaded petrol). I'm sure you know all this - please respond instantly if I've got any of that wrong.

My vision for the days ahead is that instead of talking about "Living With Lead" (which has the unfortunate implication of getting used to the way things are), you will start talking about "Living Lead-Safely" and you will announce that Xstrata's new Lead Stewardship Policy precludes Xstrata from any longer supplying the lead that ends up in leaded petrol in Burma and the other 15 straggler countries. Xstrata's new Stewardship Policy will send the message to Innospec that they need simply replace the alkyl lead they currently supply to countries using it or on-selling it for use in road vehicles, with a safer alternative from their current product range. Xstrata and Innospec will be part of the solution, not part of the continuing problem.

The LEAD Group is a charity dedicated to the elimination of lead poisoning globally, and protection of the environment from lead. Is it possible that Xstrata and The LEAD Group have a confluence of aims?

I run the world's largest publicly-accessible lead library and referrals database so would be pleased to provide ANY information and referrals you might need to help Xstrata and its Alliance play an active role in reducing blood lead levels within the Mount Isa community as well. You only need ask for what you want.

Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien, Winner of the United Nations Assoc'n of Australia (UNAA) World Environment Day (WED) Award for Outstanding Service to the Environment.
President, The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Manager, Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS) run by The LEAD Group Inc.
PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Ph +61 2 9716 0014

2. Response From Xstrata To The Lead Group

[web-published with the kind permission of Xstrata]

From: Sue Sara, [General Manager, Corporate Affairs Queensland, Xstrata]
To: The LEAD Group
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 1:51 PM
Subject: Response

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for your email of 20 May regarding the supply of lead from Mount Isa ultimately for use in leaded petrol by countries such as Burma. Unfortunately we are unable to comment on the products that are supplied to particular customers for a variety of commercial reasons. It is probably worth noting that for aviation applications, where many aircraft engines are 20 years old (or older) there is a mandatory requirement to use leaded fuel. At Xstrata we work with our stakeholders to mitigate the environmental impacts of our product life cycle and supply chain. Our Sustainable Development Policy and Standard 14 include our commitment to work with our stakeholders to mitigate the environmental impacts of our product lifecycle and supply chain and implement integrated systems to treat the impacts and risks associated with our products and services throughout their lifecycle. This includes impacts that may occur at stages in the lifecycle that are outside Xstrata's control. As part of this approach Xstrata plays an active role in a number of industry and commodity associations and initiatives to contribute to product stewardship - this includes the the ICMM Guide on Material Stewardship, the GreenLead Project, the International Lead-Zinc Research Organisation and the International Lead Association. Further information on our sustainable development policies and performance is located at Xstrata Sustainability website

Thank you very much for offering us access to your database and library of materials regarding lead, and for your interest in Xstrata.

Sue Sara GM Corporate Affairs Queensland, Xstrata Copper on behalf of Steve de Kruijff.

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