The proposal is to mine heavy mineral sands, together with Cable Sands (WA) Ply Ltd, from the beach and primary dune at Minninup Beach, Western Australia.
The proposed mine site is on the Geographe Bay coastline approximately 10 kilometres south of Bunbury. Immediately to the east of the proposed mining area Cable Sands (WA) Ply Ltd has been mining the secondary dune system since August 1986. The proposed mining operations on the beach and foredune would be carried out by Cable Sands as an extension to their existing operations.
The Cable Sands operations are carried out using a suction cutter dredge which mines and pumps the ore to a wet concentrator plant that floats directly behind the dredge in the dredge pond. The heavy mineral sands concentrates are dewatered and stockpiled onsite for transport to Cable Sands' dry processing plant in North Bunbury. Clean sand tailings are stacked in the wake of the mining operations to reconstruct dune profiles. The reconstructed dunes are covered in topsoil stripped from areas ahead of the mining operations. Stabilisation and revegetation programmes are undertaken over the mined out areas as mining progresses. The proposed primary dune and beach mining would be carried out using scrapers to mine these areas. The mined ore would be dumped in the path of the existing dredge and processed in the same manner as existing mining operations. Clean sand tailings would be picked up by the scrapers and returned to fill mined out areas of the beach and primary dunes. Stabilisation and rehabilitation programmes would be similar to those currently used on existing mined out areas. Stabilisation of the unvegetated foredune and beach is proposed through reconstructing these areas to a predetermined alignment. Surplus sand would be placed on the foredune to provide make up sand for the beach while natural coastal processes reshape the immediate coastal zone towards achieving equilibrium.