Copper and nickel proposal recommended for environmental approval

Release date: 
February 4, 2022

A project to mine copper and nickel in one of the most remote areas of Western Australia has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and has been recommended for approval by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

OZ Minerals Musgrave Operations Pty Ltd is proposing to develop two open pits, accommodation, an airstrip and processing facilities 100km east of Warburton, near the South Australian and Northern Territory borders.

The EPA’s environmental impact assessment found the proposal could be implemented subject to strict conditions relating to cultural heritage, flora and fauna, inland waters and greenhouse gas.

EPA Chair Professor Matthew Tonts said the recommended conditions, as well as the proponent’s adoption of renewables and a commitment to delivering against a trajectory of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, meant the proposal was generally consistent with the EPA’s GHG Guideline.

The EPA noted West Musgrave was the first mining project it had assessed that had committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

Professor Tonts said that as part of the assessment, members of the EPA had visited traditional owners at the Jameson community, 25km north of the proposal site.

“The Ngaanyatjarra People told us of the need to continue to fulfil their cultural obligations to the land and connections to their dreaming (Tjukurrpa), as well as their desire to ensure future generations could maintain and engage in cultural activities on country,” he said. “We have been very aware of this cultural heritage throughout the assessment.

“This means the EPA’s recommended conditions have carefully considered the cumulative impacts of future projects on the environmental and social values of the area.”

The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a three-week public appeal period, closing 25 February 2022. Appeals should be directed to the Office of the Appeals Convenor. The Minister for Environment will make the final decision on the proposal. EPA Report 1720 can be found on the EPA website.

EPA Media Contact: Jenni Storey on 0434 734 997

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