24/11/2017 - 15:05

Dawson endorses EPA's MinRes report, decision pending

24/11/2017 - 15:05

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Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has endorsed the environmental watchdog’s rejection of Mineral Resources’ Jackson 5 and Bungalbin East iron ore project, however, the government is yet to make a final decision on the proposal.

Stephen Dawson stressed that a decision on the MinRes proposal had not been made. Picture: Attila Csaszar

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has endorsed the environmental watchdog’s rejection of Mineral Resources’ Jackson 5 and Bungalbin East iron ore project, however, the government is yet to make a final decision on the proposal.

MinRes wants to construct and operate two new iron ore mines and associated infrastructure about 100 kilometres north of Southern Cross.

The new pits are designed to enable the company to sustain production from its operations in the region.

In June, the Environmental Protection Authority deemed the project environmentally unacceptable.

The EPA says that more than 20 species of subterranean fauna that are only known in the region might be impacted by a mine, while the flora species Tetratheca aphylla would also be affected.

The EPA’s report received nine appeals. However, Mr Dawson said the EPA’s assessment of the proposal was supported by the available evidence on environmental impacts.

“After carefully considering the concerns raised, I have found that the EPA’s assessment was rigorous and comprehensive,” he said

“I agree with the conclusions of the Appeals Convenor and the reasoning behind those conclusions, and have dismissed the appeals accordingly.”

Mr Dawson stressed that a decision on the MinRes proposal had not been made.

“This announcement is not a final decision from government,” he said.

“I will now consult with my ministerial colleagues to ensure the social, economic and environmental aspects of this proposal are considered.”

Wilderness Society WA state director Jenita Enevoldsen praised the minister’s endorsement.

“We are so glad to see the new WA environment minister’s backing the EPA’s report – and rejecting appeals that the landforms, social values and unique wildflowers wouldn’t be significantly impacted by the Mineral Resources mines that are proposed,” she said.

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