Conditional approval for a new iron ore mine at Weld Range in the Midwest has been recommended by the Environmental Protection Authority.Release Date:
18 June 2012Details:
Sinosteel Midwest Corporation Limited’s proposal 85 km southwest of Meekatharra and 60 km northwest of Cue, aims to develop two pits and associated infrastructure.
Mining from the two main deposits, which will occur over 11 years, will take place above and below the water table using conventional drill, blast and haul methods.
EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said a diverse set of conditions, including offsets, allowed the EPA’s environmental objectives to be met.
“The proposal is located on the Banded Iron Formation ranges in the Midwest, which have significant biodiversity values,” Dr Vogel said.
“While there were no declared rare flora or threatened ecological communities in the project area, more than 3500 hectares of native vegetation, including part of a priority ecological community will be cleared and so the conditions the EPA have recommended would ensure impacts to vegetation communities are limited.”
Dr Vogel said conditions included carrying out targeted surveys for priority species and ensuring the number and type of weeds do not increase.
An offset program will require the proponent to monitor and manage native vegetation, fauna habitat and feral goat populations to improve vegetation condition.
Other conditions include:
- ensuring surface water and groundwater quality does not exceed Australian and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council (ANZECC) guidelines;
- no impact on Aboriginal heritage values, artefacts or traditional land uses unless approved under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (AHA)
- rehabilitation of the area and a Final Closure Plan be implemented, including monitoring pit lakes post closure.
Dr Vogel said as the mine site is located 100km west of the proposed Square Kilometre Array, the EPA expects the proponent to consult with the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) during the development of the proposal.
The EPA’s report to the Government is now open to a two-week public appeal period closing July 2, 2012. The Minister for Environment will make the final decision.
EPA Report 1441 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au.
EPA Media contact: Nadia Miraudo 0400 866 450Status: