15/09/2009 - 15:22

New guidelines for Pilbara mine water

15/09/2009 - 15:22

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The state government has today released new water management guidelines to help streamline approvals for mining projects in the Pilbara.

The state government has today released new water management guidelines to help streamline approvals for mining projects in the Pilbara.

The guideline was today released by Water Minister Graham Jacobs at this year's Water in Mining conference in Perth.

Dr Jacobs said the guideline, developed in consultation with mining stakeholders, would benefit the industry by ensuring transparency and providing more certainty in the approval process.

"Mine operators and developers have asked for clear guidance from the water regulator in dealing with the complexities of water management," Dr Jacobs said.

"The department has delivered that guidance which should improve water management in the Pilbara mining industry.

"The guideline sets out a flexible process for proponents and the department to work together to define key issues and information requirements for the licence assessment process.

"The approvals requirements for a particular project will vary depending on the local water regime and the scale and details of the proposed mining operation," he said.

The department recognised that proponents of mining projects may require approval from a number of government agencies. So, the guideline was aligned with processes administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, and the departments of Mines and Petroleum, Environment and Conservation, and State Development.

"Mining projects in the Pilbara can have a significant impact on groundwater and surface water resources, particularly where mining occurs below the water table," Dr Jacobs said.

"Issues addressed include legislative requirements, state-wide policies and water management objectives detailed in the Pilbara regional water plan.

"The guideline will operate in a dynamic environment and will need to be periodially reviewed in the light of improvements in technology, developments in the mining industry and new knowledge gained from practical experience.

The Pilbara water in mining guideline is available from the Department of Water's website at http://www.water.wa.gov.au/ or contact 6364 7600.

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