09/07/2018 - 10:52

EPA approves BHP iron ore plans

09/07/2018 - 10:52

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The environmental watchdog has today recommended approval of BHP Billiton’s long-term development plans in the Pilbara, including construction of 13 new iron ore mines and expansion of four existing mines.

BHP expects to produce between 272mt and 274mt of iron ore for the 2018 financial year. Photo: BHP

The environmental watchdog has today recommended approval of BHP Billiton’s long-term development plans in the Pilbara, including construction of 13 new iron ore mines and expansion of four existing mines.

Environmental Protection Authority deputy chair Robert Harvey said the strategic asessment covers BHP's plans for up to 100 years, and had been carefully considered over the past six years.

“The benefit of assessing a strategic proposal is that we are able to take a bigger-picture view of the potential environmental impacts the proposals may have,” he said.

“Through the assessment process, the EPA was able to consider the cumulative impacts of BHP’s future proposals, rather than assessing impacts on a case-by-case basis, as individual mines or developments are proposed.

“The EPA’s environmental impact assessment on BHP’s strategic proposal released today outlines the conditions that may be applied to each development, including environmental management plans, a greenhouse gas management plan and a mine closure plan.”

 

BHP will still need to refer individual proposals outlined in the strategic document to the EPA to determine if they meet environmental standards.

“Once a derived proposal is referred to the EPA, the Authority will determine if there is any significant new information, or if there has been a significant change in the relevant environmental factors, since the strategic proposal was assessed, that would require the reassessment of the issues raised by the referred proposal,” Mr Harvey said.

As such, the strategic asessment did not include BHP's planned South Flank project, which was subject to a separate environmental review.

The four existing operations covered by the review were Jimblebar, Mining Area C, Yandi and Newman.

Proposed new mines include Jinidi, Marillana, Roy Hill, Rocklea, Tandanya, Caramulla and Mudlark.

Jinidi had been the subject of a separate EPA assessment but that was halted in 2015 when BHP asked that it be included in the strategic assessment.

The EPA’s report to the environment minister is now open for a two-week public appeal period.

The minister will make the final decision.

Shares in BHP were up 1.84 per cent at $33.76 each at 12.25pm AEDT.

 

 

 

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