The Environmental Protection Authority has released advice and recommendations to the Minister for Environment on the proposal by Pilbara Iron Pty Limited (Rio Tinto) to construct and operate a second port at Cape Lambert to process and export up to 130 million tonnes of ore per annum.
EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said that it is unlikely that the EPA’s objectives would be compromised, provided there is satisfactory implementation by the proponent of the recommended conditions.
‘The establishment of a buffer zone and conservation area between Cape Lambert and the town of Point Samson would both buffer the township from industrial noise and dust emissions and protect over 40 hectares of habitat for a lizard with a restricted range,’ Dr Vogel said.
‘This area is currently a Ministerial Reserve vested in the Minister for State Development for industrial purposes and is zoned for Strategic Industry under the Shire of Roebourne Town Planning Scheme Number 8.
‘The Shire, the proponent, and the Department of State Development have informed the EPA that they agree the majority of the area should be re-designated to provide a landscape buffer.
‘The proposal would result in light spill over the ocean and at the adjacent flatback turtle rookeries at Bell’s Beach and Cooling Water Beach.
‘The proponent has committed to minimise light emissions through initial site design and the ongoing monitoring of light spill and turtle behaviour to identify areas where adjustments to lighting design are required.
‘Noise emissions from pile driving can cause death or injury and influence the behaviour and communications of marine vertebrates. Mitigation measures are recommended as are monitoring and reactive management measures for the possible impacts of dredging.
‘Introduced marine pest species have the potential to cause significant and widespread impacts to natural marine communities and to commercial fisheries and aquaculture in the Cape Lambert area.
‘This will be addressed through inspection and clearance procedures for construction vessels and equipment, the proponent’s commitment to undertake regular marine pest monitoring and international efforts to minimise the risk of pest species introductions through the discharge of ballast water.
EPA Report 1357 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au. There is a two week public appeal period on the report closing COB 24 May, 2010.
EPA Media contact: Charlie Maling, 6467 5415, 0400 866 450