New uranium mine recommended for approval: Report 1576

Release date: 
15 August 2016

A new uranium mine in the eastern Goldfields has been recommended for approval by the Environmental Protection Authority.

With an expected mine life of 16 years, Vimy Resources Limited’s Mulga Rock Uranium Project will mine up to 4.5 million tonnes per year of ore from four deposits to produce up to 1,360 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate (UOC) each year.

Located about 240 kilometres east-northeast of Kalgoorlie, the project, which will also extract copper, zinc, nickel and cobalt, will transport the UOC by road to Port Adelaide in sealed steel drums within a secure shipping container.

EPA Chairman Dr Hatton said the board thoroughly examined the proposal and tested its environmental acceptability against six key environmental factors including potential impacts to Flora and Vegetation, Terrestrial Fauna, Human Health and Inland Waters Environmental Quality.

The environmental impact assessment included a site visit, numerous discussions with the proponent and the careful consideration of nine government agency and 10 public submissions and 1,173 pro-forma submissions received during the 12 week public review period.

“Each proposal scrutinised by the EPA is done so on a case-by-case basis and in this instance, the EPA has recommended the Mulga Rock Uranium Project be approved subject to a suite of stringent conditions,” Dr Hatton said.

Among the 14 conditions recommended, the EPA specified environmental management plans were prepared to ensure impacts to conservation significant flora, vegetation and terrestrial fauna were minimised.

The proponent will also be required to prepare an Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan to ensure impacts to registered and unregistered sites were minimised as well as plans to monitor and manage the quality of soil and groundwater.

Dr Hatton said the EPA had recommended conditions on key aspects related to the rehabilitation and decommissioning of the mine.

The EPA concluded radiation exposure to mine-site workers and the public would be within acceptable limits for human health. The Radiological Council, together with the Department of Mines and Petroleum, would also regulate potential impacts to human health.

The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing August 29, 2016. Appeals are administered independently by the Appeals Convenor and can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au

This proposal is also being assessed under a bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth Government. Both State and Federal Ministers for the Environment will make a decision based on their respective legislation.

EPA Report 1576 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au

Media Contact: Nadia Miraudo 0400 866 450