The Environmental Protection Authority EPA has released its recommendations to the Environment and Heritage Minister and set an Assessment on Referral Information level of assessment on a proposal by Hamersley Iron Pty Limited to conduct hydrogeological test work on groundwater aquifers at its Marandoo iron ore mine and within the Karijini National Park.Release Date:
6 May 2002Details:
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has released its recommendations to the Environment and Heritage Minister and set an Assessment on Referral Information level of assessment on a proposal by Hamersley Iron Pty Limited to conduct hydrogeological test work on groundwater aquifers at its Marandoo iron ore mine and within the Karijini National Park.
Production bores will be located in the Marandoo Mining Lease while re-injection bores will be located in Karijini National Park.
The research programme seeks to clarify the extent of connection of the Marra Mamba orebody aquifer with a deep Wittenoom Dolomite aquifer that extends beneath the Karijini National Park and the connection between this Wittenoom Dolomite aquifer and two shallow un-named calcrete aquifers.
The proponent has submitted to the EPA a referral document that sets out the details of the proposal, potential environmental impacts, and gives a number of appropriate commitments to manage potential environmental impacts.
EPA Chairman Bernard Bowen said that the proposal described could be managed in an environmentally acceptable manner provided the proponent's commitments were made legally binding.
"In its assessment of the Marandoo mine in 1992 the EPA noted that the proposal was limited to mining above the watertable, and advised the proponent it should investigate alternative methods of mining if it intended to put forward future proposals for mining below the watertable at Marandoo," Mr Bowen said.
"Understanding groundwater interactions will help to evaluate the feasibility of dewatering the orebody to access the below-watertable Marandoo ore and enable predictions of the environmental impacts of dewatering on the aquifers and significant vegetation inside the Karijini National Park.
"The injection of water into the aquifers under the National Park is expected to cause an increase in water pressure within the deeper Wittenoom Dolomite Aquifer and possibly a slight rise in water levels in the shallow aquifers.
"Given that the trial is of short duration, about 60 days, these effects are likely be within the range of natural variation in response to rainfall and so would not adversely affect any groundwater dependent ecosystems."
The Assessment on Referral Information level of assessment and the EPA's report are subject to appeal until close of business Monday 20 May 2002.
Media contact: Charlie Maling ph 9222 7062 or mobile 0400 866 450.Status: