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Proposed Mining Rejected
WA EPA rejects proposed mining in banded iron formations.
In the October 2014 edition of EDOnews, we discussed efforts to protect the unique landforms and biodiversity of Western Australia’s banded iron formations in the Midwest and Goldfields regions of the State. The State government has proposed protecting these critically important areas from mining and other development for the past 40 years (largely without success). EDOWA is currently representing groups in the Mining Warden’s Court who are pressing their objections to Polaris Metals’ proposed iron mining in banded iron formations near Mt Manning (in the Helena and Aurora Range Conservation Park). Polaris’ proposed mine is also awaiting an assessment decision by the EPA.
Among other things, EDOWA has assisted the groups in asking the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Hon. William Marmion, to exercise his powers under ss 19 and 111A of the Mining Act 1978 to refuse the mining applications and exempt portions of the area from mining in the future. Minister Marmion has yet to act on the groups’ request.
However, some very welcome news was received today when the WA Environmental Protection Authority issued Report 1532 – recommending rejection of Sinosteel Midwest Corporation Limited’s “Blue Hills Mungada East Expansion” because “it cannot be managed to meet the EPA’s objective for Landforms and the proposal is environmentally unacceptable and should not be implemented” (EPA Report 1532, p 10 (Nov. 2014). Sinosteel’s proposed Mungada East mine is located in the banded iron formations of Mt Karara, central Blue Hills, and Mungada Ridge of WA’s Midwest. These formations are very similar to the formations in the Helena and Aurora Range that EDOWA is fighting to protect. The EPA’s rejection of Sinosteel’s proposal hopefully foreshadows the agency’s decision on Polaris Metals’ proposal in the Helena and Aurora Range Conservation Park and ought to provide further justification for Minister Marmion to use his powers to protect the Park’s formations even before EPA releases its decision on Polaris Metals’ tenement applications.
Stay tuned to EDOWA’s website and Facebook page for updates or call us (9221 3030) if you’d like to find out more or want to get involved.
Shark Cull Knocked Back
Precautionary Principle Awakens From Coma
EDOWA is delighted that the WA EPA yesterday (11 September) recommended that the Premier’s proposed Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line proposal should NOT be implemented.
This is a great day for all those who have been working hard to stop the State government’s controversial program. Since January this year, EDOWA has been battling for clients seeking to stop the program from being implemented. In February, for example, we sought an injunction in the Supreme Court on behalf of Sea Shepherd and Sharon Burden seeking to stop the 3-month, “trial” program that the Commonwealth government had exempted from undergoing Federal review. To our disappointment, the Court rejected our attempt to prohibit the trial program in March, though at least the Court declined to award the State its costs. Subsequently and again on behalf of Sea Shepherd, we lodged submissions opposing a longer-term 3-year program with both the State and Federal governments.
In yesterday’s media release, EPA’s chairman said;
“At this stage, the available information and evidence does not provide the EPA with a high level of confidence. In view of these uncertainties, the EPA has adopted a cautious approach by recommending against the proposal.”
It is rare to see the Precautionary Principle invoked to reject a proposal and hopefully today’s decision marks the beginning of a new era in which, when faced with uncertainty and lack of scientific evidence, the EPA will err on the side of caution in favour of the environment.
For the next two weeks appeals to the appeals convenor regarding this decision will be open. EDOWA does not anticipate that there will be any appeals to this decision. We earnestly hope that the WA Environment Minister, Albert Jacob, will accept the EPA recommendations. However, if the Minister chooses to approve the program, in spite of the EPA recommendations, EDOWA expects it will be asked to wade into the fray yet again.
For more information, go to: http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
Who We Are
The EDO is a non-profit, non-government community legal centre specialising in public interest environmental law. Our services include:
- providing community groups and individuals with free legal advice and representation on environmental issues,
- promoting environmental law reform, and
- undertaking community legal education.
Protection of WA's environment by providing individuals and community groups with environmental legal services including advice, education, representation and opportunity to participate in reform of laws affecting the environment.
Free Legal Advice
The EDO provides free legal advice to members of the community in public interest environmental law matters.
The EDO provides information factsheets over to members of the community in public interest environmental law matters.