The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended approval for BHP Billiton’s proposed open-pit iron ore mine in the Pilbara, saying the global miner’s proposal met all the necessary environmental objectives.
“In assessing this project, the EPA took into account the proponent’s efforts to avoid, minimise and rehabilitate environmental impacts associated with the project,” said EPA Chairman Dr Paul Vogel.
“This has included using existing stockpiles and infrastructure at their adjacent mines, rehabilitating disturbed areas when they are no longer needed and providing a buffer of 50 metres along the Homestead Creek to avoid impacts to fringing vegetation.”
BHP Billiton Iron Ore proposes to develop and operate the Orebody 32 Above Water Table Iron Ore Mine, which is located at the company’s existing Eastern Ridge Hub, about 10km north-east of Newman.
The project includes conventional open pits above the water table and infrastructure, including storage areas and a haul road, with mined iron ore to be transported to the company’s existing processing facilities near its already-approved Orebody 24 and 25 mines.
Dr Vogel said EPA’s recommendation included seven conditions as well as measures to address rehabilitation and decommissioning of the mine.
“The EPA has recommended the proponent develop and implement a Mine Closure Plan to ensure the mine is decommissioned and rehabilitated in an ecologically sustainable manner,” he said.
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, whereas appeals are administered independently by the Appeals Convenor and can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au.