The Pasminco lead smelter closed down in 2003. But it left behind a toxic legacy that devastated the environment and the lives of residents living in the surrounding community.
In 2014, The Newcastle Herald revealed in a joint investigation with Macquarie University that, despite official assurances the area was safe, there were alarming levels of lead and other heavy metals found in homes and public places at Boolaroo, Speers Point and Argenton.
Toxic Truth: The complete Newcastle Herald investigation
The operation to clean up the Pasminco area was said to be among the largest in Australia's history. It involved gaining NSW government approval in 2014 to place 1.9 million cubic metres of contaminated material into a 45-metre-high containment cell in a 19-hectare are on the site.
These images record the tumultuous relationship between Pasminco, its devastating legacy, and the community of Boolaroo.