The EPA has recommended that the Minister for Environment not approve Bemax Resources Limited’s proposal to develop a mineral sand mine in the Shire of Capel on the Whicher Scarp, 10 kilometres south of Boyanup. The proposal will involve the clearing of 146 hectares of regionally significant native vegetation. Release Date:
14 February 2011Details:
EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said that the proposal will result in unacceptable impacts to the outstanding natural values of the Whicher Scarp.
‘The natural values of the Whicher Scarp in relation to landforms, vegetation and flora are diverse and varied,’ Dr Vogel said.
‘These include a distinct and naturally restricted landform, an ecological linkage, six unique vegetation complexes, a diverse suite of woodland floristic assemblages, diverse and rich flora, restricted and rare wetland communities, centre of speciation, highly endemic flora, more than 60 rare species, 60 species at the end of their range, more than 100 species with disjunct populations, a diversity of unusual and possibly relictual habitats, a high degree of intactness of native vegetation and a biodiversity hotspot.
‘The area has been significantly impacted by mineral sands mining and nearly the entire Whicher Scarp is subject to current exploration licences or mining leases.
‘Over the past 10 years, the industry has developed minerals sands mines in order of increasing environmental constraint.
‘The EPA is unlikely to support any further development on the Whicher Scarp.’
The reasons why Bemax Resources Limited’s proposal in particular cannot be managed to meet the EPA’s objectives in relation to flora and vegetation, conservation significant fauna and habitat, rehabilitation, and noise are contained in the EPA’s Report.
A further summary of information on the Whicher Scarp is in the EPA’s Environmental Protection Bulletin No 6 - Natural Values of the Whicher Scarp (August 2009) available at http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/Policies_guidelines/envprotectbulltn/Pages/default.aspx?cat=Environmental%20Protection%20Bulletins&url=Policies_guidelines/envprotectbulltn
As the EPA has recommended against approval, Report 1383 does not include draft conditions. If the Minister, after considering appeals, makes a decision to allow the proposal to be implemented, the EPA recommends that the Minister consult the EPA as to the conditions and procedures to which the proposal should be subject.
EPA Report 1383 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au. There is a two week public appeal period on the Report’s contents closing 28 February 2011. The EPA site has RSS capability for new releases.
Information on all proposals currently under assessment by the EPA is available at http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/EIA/statofactivformal/Pages/default.aspx?cat=Status%20of%20Active%20Formal%20Assessments&url=EIA/statofactivformal.
EPA Media contact: Charlie Maling, 6467 5415, 0400 866 450Status: