Hydro - ESS Australia

ESS Australia has guided Hydro through the rezoning process, as lead consultant providing town planning and project management services. Hydro Aluminium Kurri Kurri Pty Ltd owns approximately 2,000 hectares of land at Loxford, NSW, that was used for the former Hydro Aluminium Kurri Kurri Smelter (the Smelter) and adjacent buffer lands. The Smelter ceased operations in September 2012, with Hydro formally announcing the closure of the Smelter in May 2014.

ESS Australia was engaged to undertake a preliminary assessment of the land use capability for the site, informing a Preliminary Masterplan. We then engaged and managed a project team consisting of 13 consultants, undertaking the required detailed environmental assessment to validate the overall proposed planning outcome. The Hydro Kurri Kurri Rezoning Masterplan outlines the potential development of the Smelter and surrounding buffer land, showing the full extent of the future development that may result from the proposed rezoning.


ESS Australia’s scope of works included:


Development Management

  • Assist with and assess capital works program and scope to ensure consistency with strategic planning and divestment of Hydro sites;
  • Support all disposal opportunities with potential purchasers;
  • Assistance in any stakeholder consultation with relevant parties;
  • Direct liaison, planning and negotiations with local or private utility and infrastructure providers as required throughout the transaction;
  • Assist in maximising value add of landholdings as well as working closely with environmental consultants to minimise remediation costs.


Project Management

  • Establish and maintain GIS database of all survey work, consultant mapping and reports;
  • Production of all necessary tender documentation to engage necessary consultant and contractors;
  • Cost and contract management of each engagement;
  • Technical management of consultant inputs into planning and development management work;



  • Provide comprehensive strategic and statutory planning reviews to identify development opportunities and approval pathways (including SEPPs & LEP);
  • Preparation of the Planning Proposal to support the rezoning of the site;
  • Continuing dialogue with Cessnock & Maitland City Councils and the Department of Planning & Environment regarding the Hunter
  • Regional Plan 2036, Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036 and Hunter Expressway Strategy.
  • Liaise with Cessnock & Maitland City Councils and the Department of Planning, and other agencies were required;

Hydro - Hydro

Development Approvals

  • Preparation of any development applications to be submitted to Cessnock or Maitland City Council to progress the project, including demolition and other works nominated by Hydro;
  • Review of approval conditions and requirements that are to be satisfied prior to the commencement of works within the site.


ESS Australia has assisted Hydro as it aims to achieve its strategic vision by the rezoning and enabling of future development within the Hydro Land for significant employment, residential, and biodiversity conservation purposes.