12/05/2009 - 15:22

Gindalbie appeals EPA conditions

12/05/2009 - 15:22

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Gindalbie Metals will appeal against some of the conditions recommended by the environment watchdog over the $1.8 billion Karara iron ore joint venture with AnSteel.

Gindalbie appeals EPA conditions

Gindalbie Metals will appeal against some of the conditions recommended by the environment watchdog over the $1.8 billion Karara iron ore joint venture with AnSteel.

The appeal centres on the Environment Protection Authority's recommendation to exclude the mining of the Terapod deposit, which Gindalbie claims is essential for the first stage of the hematite iron ore operation.

"Terapod comprises a significant portion of our initial hematite resources and our intention would be to mine it as part of the start-up 2 million tonne per annum direct shipping ore operation," Gindalbie managing director Garret Dixon said.

"This phase of operations will generate substantial early cash flow which will underpin the broader project development as well as generate new jobs, royalties and other economic benefits in the very early stages of the Project."

Additionally, the company is appealing against some "inconsistencies and ambiguities" with the EPA report, along with some other minor conditions.

Gindalbie added that the appeal against Terapod is not expected to have any impact on the timing of final Ministerial approval, which is expected to take around 16 weeks.

Last week, the Foreign Investment Review Board approved AnSteel's $162 million share placement in Gindalbie.

The Conservation Council has also submitted appeals against the EPA's recommendations.

The council is arguing that mining should not take place at Blue Hills North, which the EPA has permitted.

"The Conservation Council will argue that the compromises between conservation and mining outlined in the Banded Ironstone Strategic Review should be followed, and thus both the Terapod and Blue Hills North mines should be rejected by the EPA," council spokesman Tim Nicol said.

The review, carried out a few years ago, found that the Banded Ironstone Formations found in the Mid West region should not be mined in light of environmental concerns.

"Further, whilst it is recognised that the BIF review recommends that mining could be allowed at Mt Karara for economic reasons, the proponent has failed on a number of counts to show that mining will not have unacceptable impacts on the environment," Mr Nicol said.

The council also expressed concern over the project's greenhouse gas emissions, saying the development's emissions are "very high" compared to other mining projects.

 

 

The announcement is below:

 

 

Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX: GBG - "Gindalbie") today confirmed that the Karara Joint Venture will be appealing
against some of the conditions and recommendations contained in the Reports released on 28 April by the
Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Western Australia for the Karara Iron Ore Project.

While the Company was very pleased with the EPA's overall recommendation that the flagship Karara Project be
approved for development, conditional on the implementation of Ministerial Conditions, it has lodged an appeal
against the exclusion of the Terapod deposit from the recommended approval.

Gindalbie's Managing Director, Mr Garret Dixon, said while the exclusion of Terapod had little impact on the flagship
magnetite phase of the Karara Project, the deposit was an important part of the planned first stage hematite
operation. The Company has also identified that magnetite mineralisation exists below the hematite ore that should
develop into a significant magnetite deposit based on its detailed understanding of the geology of the area.

"Terapod comprises a significant portion of our initial hematite resources and our intention would be to mine it as part of the start-up 2Mtpa DSO operation," he said. "This phase of operations will generate substantial early cash flow which will underpin the broader project development as well as generate new jobs, royalties and other economic
benefits in the very early stages of the Project."

In addition to the Terapod appeal, a detailed review of the EPA report in relation to the Karara Project has
highlighted some inconsistencies and ambiguities within the report, which the Joint Venture is appealing, along with
some parts of the other minor conditions. The appeal against Terapod is not expected to have any impact on the
timing of final Ministerial approval for the Karara Project.

Gindalbie looks forward to working with the authorities to resolve these outstanding issues and is confident that they
can be dealt with in a constructive and cooperative fashion, enabling the Karara Project development to proceed.
"The recent EPA recommendation and the decision last week by the Foreign Investment Review Board to approve
the $162 million share placement to our Chinese partner AnSteel means that it is now full-steam ahead at Karara,"
Mr Dixon said.

"It is very important that the Karara Project proceeds in a timely fashion, however it is also important that we work
with the EPA to resolve any ambiguities and inconsistencies that may be in the report for the main Karara Project,
and have the opportunity to raise our concerns through the appropriate channels about the exclusion of the valuable Terapod deposit, which is a significant component of our planned DSO operations," he said

"At the same time, and despite all the high standard work that has been undertaken on the project and the extensive
reviews undertaken by the EPA, we may still receive appeals from external parties against the recommendation that
the Karara Project should be developed. We do not believe that our appeals will therefore add any time to the
process. "

"The key issue for Gindalbie, Ansteel and the people of the WA is being able to get on with the job of building Karara, which will provide much needed employment and revenue."

Once the appeals have been lodged, reviewed and heard by the Appeals Convenor, the recommendation will be referred to the Minister. The entire process is expected to take in the order of 16 weeks to complete before final
Ministerial approval can be obtained enabling the Karara Project development to proceed.

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