Ivernia, the Canadian stock market listed company that owns Magellan Metals, says there is no evidence that the sealed bags containing lead carbonate from its Wiluna mine have leaked.
In a statement released this morning, Perth time, to the Toronto Stock Exchange, Ivernia president and chief executive Alan De'ath said the company was taking the issue "very seriously".
But the statement, which Ivernia's Australian public relations company says will be the company's only comments today, does not address the Environmental Protection Authority's allegation that Magellan may have been in breach of its management plan as long ago as October 2009.
Under the management plan to export the dangerous lead carbonate through Fremantle, Magellan is required to notify state and local authorities within 12 hours of a breach.
On December 15 it gave the EPA a single sheet of paper with lead sampling data that suggests it may have breached the management plan as many as 10 times between October 2009 and September 2010.
Mr De'ath said Magellan "met and proactively advised" the EPA on December 15 that lead may have been found inside a small number of sealed shipping containers but outside the sealed bags.
"Magellan Metals was fully prepared to meet the timeline agreed with the OEPA as a result of these meetings to provide additional information when the Stop Order was issued on December 31, 2010," he said.
That stop order was replaced with a new order, signed by Environment Minister Bill Marmion yesterday, which requires Magellan to provide more information to the EPA by January 17 so the agency can undertake an independent investigation.
"Magellan Metals intends to address this matter as soon as possible before the deadline and work with the OEPA and its general manager to ensure their satisfaction with the results of the investigation and review in order to resume shipments from the Magellan Mine," the company said.
The company said the "key facts" to note were that there was no public health risk because airborne lead levels in the sealed containers were below occupational health levels established by Australian regulators and sampling at 300 monitoring sites along the transport route had shown no trace of lead since operations started in September 2009.