24/07/2009 - 11:47

Faragher upholds Gindalbie appeal

24/07/2009 - 11:47

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The environment minister has given the green light to Gindalbie Metals to mine a key iron ore deposit as part of its $1.8 billion Karara joint venture, in return for the relinquishment of certain tenements.

Faragher upholds Gindalbie appeal

The environment minister has given the green light to Gindalbie Metals to mine a key iron ore deposit as part of its $1.8 billion Karara joint venture, in return for the relinquishment of certain tenements.

Minister Donna Faragher today upheld key Gindalbie appeals following the release of a conditional recommendation from the Environmental Protection Authority in April.

The EPA had recommended that the contentious Terapod iron ore deposit, which is critical for Gindalbie's start-up hematite operation, not be mined and instead be classified as a Class A nature reserve.

Today, Ms Faragher upheld Gindalbie's appeal regarding Terapod and noted the company's offer to relinquish the tenements covering the Mungada Ridge.

Gindalbie had earlier offer to relinquish the tenements on the proviso that it could mine the Karara, Blue Hills North and Terapod deposits.

"My determination for the Terapod deposit in particular is subject to part of the Mungada Ridge, currently covered by a mining tenement, being reserved for conservation purposes and protected from any future development," Mrs Faragher said.

"Importantly, it is intended to convert this 995 hectare site into class 'A' nature reserve - the first declared conservation reserve in this area."

However, Gindalbie's offer to relinquish the tenements could pose problems for Sinosteel Midwest Corporation, which holds a significant portion of a banded iron formation ridge known as Blue Hills West.

"There will need to be further negotiations t determine the future of this area," Ms Faragher said in her report.

Sinosteel is currently appealing the EPA's recommendation that mining not take place on the Mungada East portion of its mining plans.

Gindalbie today welcomed the decision, but warned shareholders that the minister needs to obtain agreements on the final conditions.

"This is another very encouraging step forward for Karara, and we are looking forward to working closely with the Minister and her colleagues to agree on the conditions required to secure final Ministerial approval to enable the Karara Project development to proceed," managing director Garret Dixon said.

"We are confident that this can be achieved during the current Quarter, enabling us to be on site in the December Quarter, 2009, to commence construction and development activities."

Outgoing Gindalbie chairman George Jones said the minister's decision came at an opportune time, coinciding with Premier Colin Barnett's visit to China.

The Karara operation is a joint venture with China's AnSteel, which has already completed the construction of a $5 billion pellet plant in China to process the ore.

Final approval for the project is expected this quarter with work to start in October.

 

 

Gindalbie and the environment minister's announcemens are below:

 

Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX: GBG - "Gindalbie") is pleased to advise that all of the key appeals lodged by the Karara Joint Venture against the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)'s recommendations and conditions for both the hematite and magnetite phases of the Karara Iron Ore Project have been upheld by Western Australian Environment Minister, Donna Faragher.

Importantly, the Minister has upheld the appeal on the Terapod hematite deposit, clearing the way for it to be mined, together with the Blue Hills North hematite deposit as part of the 2.0Mtpa hematite phase of the Karara Project.

As part of the Ministerial determination, the Minister has noted the Joint Venture's offer to relinquish the tenements covering the Mungada Ridge, on the basis that the Karara, Blue Hills North, Terapod orebodies be approved for development.

Terapod is important to the hematite phase of the Karara Project and Gindalbie has identified magnetite mineralisation below the hematite ore which will be important to the future long term expansion of Karara.

In her determination, the Minister has upheld the majority of appeal points lodged in relation to inconsistencies and ambiguities identified within the Karara Report, as well as most importantly upholding the appeal in relation to the Terapod deposit.

The Minister has indicated that she will now consult with other relevant Ministers to obtain agreement on the final conditions for the approval of the Karara Project.

Commenting on the Minister's announcement, Gindalbie's Managing Director, Mr Garret Dixon, said: "This is another very encouraging step forward for Karara, and we are looking forward to working closely with the Minister and her colleagues to agree on the conditions required to secure final Ministerial approval to enable the Karara Project development to proceed.

"We are confident that this can be achieved during the current Quarter, enabling us to be on site in the December Quarter, 2009, to commence construction and development activities," he added.

Gindalbie Chairman, Mr George Jones, said from China that the Minister's decision came at an opportune time as it coincided with the visit to China by WA Premier Mr Colin Barnett.

"During his visit to China, Mr Barnett is meeting directly with AnSteel President Dr Zhang Xiaogang, and touring the Bayuquan Steel Mill, where Karara ore will be the main long term feed source," he said.

"We also note some very positive comments out of the China visit by the Premier regarding potential Chinese involvement in the development of the Oakajee Port. The successful development of Oakajee will underpin the long term future of the Mid West iron ore industry, and in particular the expansion of the Karara Project to +30Mtpa."

"With these approvals Gindalbie and AnSteel can now get on with the job of building the project and start to realise the potential that this Project has to add serious value to the Joint Venture partners and to Western Australia."

The Minister's determination on the proposals and the Appeals Convenor's Reports are available at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au.

 

 


Environment Minister Donna Faragher has determined appeals on the Mungada and Karara iron ore projects in the State's Mid-West.

Mrs Faragher said today she had considered reports from the Appeals Convenor in respect to Karara Mining Limited's two proposals to mine iron ore from the Blue Hills North, Terapod and Karara deposits at Blue Hills Range, about 200 kilometres east of Geraldton in the Morawa shire.

A total of 12 appeals were lodged with the Appeals Convenor following the Environmental Protection Authority's reports to the Minister earlier this year.

She said that the appeals process had highlighted environmental issues affecting flora and fauna, as well as longer-term issues related to rehabilitation at the conclusion of mining activities.

"My determination for the Terapod deposit in particular is subject to part of the Mungada Ridge, currently covered by a mining tenement, being reserved for conservation purposes and protected from any future development," Mrs Faragher said.

"Importantly, it is intended to convert this 995 hectare site into class 'A' nature reserve - the first declared conservation reserve in this area.

"As part of my determination I have strengthened the conditions regarding public reporting and rehabilitation requirements.

"The conditions will also deliver monitoring and public reporting of environmental outcomes on issues ranging from weeds, through to the implementation of management plans for the western spiny-tailed skink and shield-backed trapdoor spider."

The Minister said she would now consult with other decision making Ministers to obtain agreement on the final conditions.

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