The Environmental Protection Agency has given conditional approval to the Cape Riche desalination plant, proposed by Grange Resources.
The plant, which would be constructed and operated by Grange, has the capacity to supply 12 gigalitres of water per year to Grange’s Southdown magnetite project, an open pit mine 90 kilometres north-east of Albany.
The desalination plant will be located nearly 5 kilometres west of Cape Riche, with a seawater intake and pump station 500 metres east of the Cheyne Inlet.
Chairman of the EPA, Paul Vogel, said the authority had recommended a raft of conditions in approving the site due to the pristine local environment.
“This proposal has the potential to impact marine fauna and habitats, marine water quality and terrestrial flora and fauna through activities including blasting to construct the intake channel and clearing of vegetation for the pipeline construction,” he said.
Dr Vogel added that other considerations, including the effects on social surrounds and cultural considerations.
“The EPA visited Cape Riche last year and understands the area is highly valued by the community for its indigenous heritage, environmental values and recreational use.”
“This proposal is unlikely to significantly impact the social surrounds however conditions will require that exclusion zones ensure walking corridors along Cape Riche are not completely blocked of at any time during construction,” he said.
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is open for a two week public appeal process which will close on February the 27th.