The Hamersley Agriculture Project (HAP) proposal involves utilising mine dewatering, surplus to other Marandoo Mine Phase 2 requirements, for irrigated agriculture. The irrigated agriculture crops grown are cut and baled for animal feed. The Project area is located approximately 6 kilometres to the west of the Marandoo Iron Ore Mine.
In November 2015, the proponent for the proposal, Hamersley Iron Pty Limited (Hamersley), requested the following changes to the implementation conditions of Ministerial Statement 883:
- contemporise and rationalise implementation conditions relating to compliance auditing (conditions 1-4) to align the HAP reporting requirements to other Ministerial Statements for Rio Tinto’s Pilbara Iron Ore operations;
- change condition 5 (Flora-spread of weeds) to allow greater flexibility in the choice of endorsed crop species;
- change condition 6 (Water quality and quantity) to address water quality, hydrology and runoff from the HAP;
- change condition 7 (Rehabilitation) to remove restrictions relating to seed collection for rehabilitation; and
- change condition 8 (Visual amenity) which provided for two options for the location of the HAP being Option A (Eastern Agricultural area) and Option B (Southern Fortescue Borefield).
The Minister for Environment has requested that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) inquire into and report on the matter of changing the implementation conditions relating to the Hamersley Agriculture Project.
This is the EPA’s Report and Recommendations (No. 1605) to the Minister pursuant to section 46(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act).