The Environmental Protection Authority has recommended stringent conditional approval for a proposal to mine iron ore on the Koolyanobbing Range, about 50 kilometres north-east of Southern Cross.
Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore Pty Ltd’s proposal to extend its existing Yilgarn Operations to the F Deposit aims to mine nine million tonnes of ore over three years by developing three open cut pits, waste rock dumps, roads and supporting infrastructure.
EPA Chairman Dr Tom Hatton said the proposal had undergone rigorous environmental impact assessment, with the independent board carefully considering six submissions received during the public review period.
The EPA concluded it could meet its objectives for the three key environmental factors applicable to the project, including Flora and Vegetation, subject to 11 conditions.
“The EPA’s concerns with this proposal have been addressed with the proponent reducing the size and configuration of the mine pits throughout the assessment process. Modifications to the proposal also include staging the development of the project,” Dr Hatton said.
Dr Hatton said Stage 1 of the proposal would include the development of the central mine pit (F2) and the southern mine pit (F3). These pits would be connected by a mine access road, after which it would be rehabilitated. The establishment of a rare plant Tetratheca erubescens on previously disturbed areas must be successful before Stage 2 – the development of the northern mine pit (F1) can begin.
Other conditions include management plans to avoid impacts on native flora and vegetation, measures to ensure the stability of the pit wall during mining and post closure and an offsets plan.
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing September 27, 2016. Appeals are administered independently by the Appeals Convenor and can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au The Minister for Environment will make the final decision.
EPA Report 1581 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au
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