Coming soon: news laws on importing or exporting mercury
Upcoming changes to the regulation of mercury
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury use. Australia signed the Convention on 10 October 2013 and is in the process of taking steps domestically to ratify the Convention. One of the steps is to change Australian laws on the regulation of mercury. This will be done by amending the Industrial Chemicals (General) Rules 2019 to add:
- the Minamata Convention as a prescribed international arrangement
- measures in Division 1, Part 2 of Section 6 for importing and exporting mercury for industrial use
What this will mean to mercury importers and exporters
These new regulatory obligations will apply to importers and exporters of elemental mercury (Hg(0), CAS No 7439-97-6) and mixtures of mercury (including alloys of mercury) with a mercury concentration of at least 95% by weight. Once they are in effect:
- AICIS will regulate the import and export of mercury in Australia for industrial use.
- Importers and exporters will need to submit an application to AICIS and receive approval before they can import or export mercury for industrial use.
- Importing or exporting mercury without prior approval from AICIS is an offence and can be subject to penalties under the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019.
When the new regulations will take effect
The new regulations will come into effect in late 2021.
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