The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended environmental approval for the expansion of the Greenbushes Lithium Mine about 250km south of Perth, subject to certain conditions including protection of threatened black cockatoos unique to Australia’s south-west.
It follows a four-week public review process as part of the EPA’s assessment of potential environmental impacts, and additional information provided by proponent Talison Lithium Australia Pty Ltd in response to issues raised in public comments and further consultation with mining and environmental regulators.
Along with several detailed management plans to protect fauna, the EPA recommended the proponent fund targeted land acquisitions and research to offset the significant residual impact of lost habitat for threatened species, including the endangered Carnaby’s and Baudin’s black cockatoos, the critically endangered Western ringtail possum, and the endangered numbat.
To reduce impacts to social surroundings, a new road is proposed to divert increased traffic outside the Greenbushes town; in addition to conditions recommended by the EPA to manage noise, vibration, dust and visual amenity.
Water collection and controls will also be incorporated in new infrastructure, to help manage existing and potential impacts to water resources in the Blackwood Valley catchment.
EPA Chair Dr Tom Hatton said the proposal was not expected to result in an unacceptable or unsustainable impact on the fauna listed as threatened under State and Commonwealth laws.
“Habitat types within the development envelope are reported to be well-represented in the immediate vicinity and broader Blackwood district,” Dr Hatton said.
“Clearing of 350 hectares of native vegetation on mining tenements – in State Forest used for mining since 1888, timber and some agriculture – is unavoidable for the proposal to proceed.
“The proponent reduced the size of the development envelope and, in preference to further clearing within State Forest, located proposed infrastructure in areas already disturbed.”
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing on 22nd May 2018. Appeals can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au.
EPA Report 1636 is available here.
The Minister for Environment will make the final decision on the recommendation for approval.
EPA Media Contact: Jayne Rickard on 0466 534 008