EPA recommends approval of expanded lead mining operations near Wiluna

Release date: 
01 August 2018

A proposal to revive and expand operations with an innovative lead refinement technology at Paroo Station Lead Mine, near Wiluna, has been recommended for approval by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

EPA Chair Tom Hatton said the proposal from Rosslyn Hill Mining Pty Ltd to expand current mining operations at Paroo Station Lead Mine by 400 hectares and introduce new lead refinement technology was environmentally sound, provided strict conditions regarding transport continue to be met.

“The EPA has assessed plans to revive and expand lead mining operations at Paroo Station and found the proposal to convert lead carbonate concentrate to lead metal bars, known as ingots, avoids the chance of accidental spillage of lead carbonate during transport and creates a safer environmental outcome than the historic lead mining process,” Dr Hatton said.

“This particular refinement process will be the first of its kind and while there may still be some lead carbonate concentrate being exported through Fremantle Port from the mining operation, it will be reduced in volume and continue to be subject to strict storage and transport conditions.”

Formally known as the Magellan Lead Carbonate Project, the 400ha expansion of the mining operation will allow for an increased tailings storage facility and construction and operation of a hydrometallurgical facility to service the mine site.

“The EPA believes the environmental impacts of this proposal can be managed through the installation of recovery bores, ongoing groundwater monitoring under a Part V Licence and a transport emergency response plan in the event of lead discharge anywhere between the mine site and the Port of Fremantle,” Dr Hatton said.

“In addition, the use of a hydrometallurgical facility instead of a smelter and the installation of appropriate pollution control equipment on the plant greatly reduces the overall risk of lead exposure.”

The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period. Appeals can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au.

The Minister for Environment will make the final decision. EPA Report 1620 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au.

ENDS

Media Contact: Jayne Rickard on 0400 866 450

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