An extension to an operating iron ore mine 130km northwest of Newman has been recommended for conditional approval by the Environmental Protection Authority.
Robe River Mining Co. Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Iron Ore, proposes to extend the West Angelas Iron Ore Project, which already includes an open-cut mine and associated infrastructure, by mining Deposit A West and Deposit F.
The extension will develop supporting infrastructure including waste rock dumps, access roads and accommodation, requiring additional clearing of up to 3,223 hectares and an increase in abstraction for dewatering from 5 gigalitres per annum (GL/a) to 6 GL/a. The development envelope area will increase by 2,747 ha.
EPA Chairman Dr Paul Vogel said the proposal, which was assessed as an Assessment on Proponent Information, category A, met the EPA’s objectives for the key environmental factors of flora and vegetation and offsets.
“The EPA’s environmental impact assessment of this proposal concluded it could meet our objectives under the existing conditions, which includes a suite of monitoring and management plans designed to avoid, minimise and mitigate impacts on flora and vegetation,” Dr Vogel said.
“The EPA has also recommended an additional condition, requiring the proponent to contribute to a government established conservation offset fund to counterbalance the significant residual impacts to native vegetation in ‘good to excellent’ condition.”
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing July 6, 2015. Appeals are administered independently by the Appeals Convenor and can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au
The Minister for Environment will make the final decision.
EPA Report 1551 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au
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