29/01/2009 - 17:22

Kalgoorlie Super Pit expansion approved

29/01/2009 - 17:22

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The expansion of Kalgoorlie's Super Pit gold mine has been approved after Acting Environment Minister John Day signed off on the expansion under a new set of stringent environmental conditions.

The expansion of Kalgoorlie's Super Pit gold mine has been approved after Acting Environment Minister John Day signed off on the expansion under a new set of stringent environmental conditions.

Today's approval will allow the Super Pit to be deepened to 600 metres, the establishment of additional waste dumps with a capacity of 140 million tonnes of waste rock and the expansion of tailings storage facilities.

Mr Day said the proponents of the mine, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines, would need to implement a range of tough new conditions before the expansion could begin.

"These conditions require KCGM to address noise, air quality, waste disposal and vibration issues, as well as heritage and cultural values," he said.

"The proponents are also required to submit a rehabilitation and closure management plan to the Department of Environment and Conservation before April 2010."

A KCGM-funded independent auditor will be appointed to check on compliance with the new conditions for an initial period of eighteen months.

The Ministerial conditions being imposed follow on from the determination of the appeals against the proposal by Labor Environment Minister David Templeman in June 2008.

"Former Minister Templeman did not complete consultation and agreement with Decision-Making Authorities (DMAs) prior to the calling of an early election in September," Mr Day said.

"A final decision was not made.

"The current Environment Minister, Donna Faragher, recommenced consultation with the Ministers for Mines, Planning, Lands, Water, Health and Indigenous Affairs in October 2008, and the final documentation on this consultation was provided by the Appeals Convenor to me in my acting capacity, this week.

"This demonstrates that the Minister for Environment has been working diligently through a rigorous process to ensure this proposal, and many others, meet strict environmental conditions.

"I have been advised that Minister Faragher has so far made decisions on 31 proposals, nine of those being mining projects."

Mr Day said the new conditions strengthened those proposed by the previous Government.

"The former conditions did not adequately address Aboriginal heritage values, but this Government understands the importance of this issue and has strengthened conditions by requiring the implementation of an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan."

The proposed mining operations cannot begin before approval is given under
Regulation 17 of the Noise Regulations.

"The noise regulation 17 approval would provide clear and enforceable noise limits to KCGM's operations for the first time," Mr Day said.

The Acting Minister said the expansion approval would extend the life of the mine by up to 10 years, which would help support the local and national economy.

"While this expansion is expected to provide significant benefits for the Western Australian economy, such as securing jobs for more than 1,000 people, these new conditions ensure this will not be at the expense of the environment and local community," he said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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