Strict conditions governing the construction of a new outer harbour development in Port Hedland have been recommended by the Environmental Protection Authority. Release Date:
23 January 2012Details:
EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said the recommended approval of BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s outer harbour development, which includes rail and ore stockpile facilities as well as a four kilometre jetty offshore of Finucane Island, could be implemented with rigorous conditions to limit environmental impacts.
The proposal, which will take about eight years to construct over four stages, will allow approximately 240 million tonnes of iron ore to be exported each year.
Dr Vogel said assessing this proposal, and in particular the impacts on marine habitat, fauna and marine environmental quality, had proven complex.
He said a comprehensive set of environmental conditions, including measures to limit the impact on marine habitats, had been recommended to ensure the EPA’s environmental objectives could be met.
The proposal also includes a large marine dredging campaign, which is expected to take about four years to complete and involves the dredging and disposal of about 42 million cubic metres of sediment.
“The EPA has found that the dredging campaign could be managed in a way that is unlikely to compromise the ecological functioning of the marine environment locally and regionally,” Dr Vogel said.
He said it should also be noted that the offshore spoil grounds were not included in the EPA’s area for assessment as it is located in Commonwealth waters and will need to conform to Commonwealth legislation and standards for sea dumping of dredged material.
An offsets package over five projects has also been recommended.
“Of the five projects, three are focused on marine fauna, namely supporting research on sawfish, whales, dolphins, dugongs and turtles,” Dr Vogel said.
The EPA also recommends that the ongoing regulation of dust and noise emissions can be most effectively managed under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and in accordance with the Port Hedland Air Quality and Noise Management Plan.
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two week public appeal period closing February 6, 2012.
EPA Report 1427 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au.
EPA Media contact: 0400 866 450Status: