25/11/2010 - 00:00

Panoramic free to build at Lanfranchi: SAT

25/11/2010 - 00:00

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A RECENT decision by the State Administrative Tribunal will allow nickel miner Panoramic Resources to construct a workers’ accommodation camp at one of its mines sites despite objections from the Shire of Coolgardie.

Panoramic free to build at Lanfranchi: SAT

A RECENT decision by the State Administrative Tribunal will allow nickel miner Panoramic Resources to construct a workers’ accommodation camp at one of its mines sites despite objections from the Shire of Coolgardie.

The decision allows Panoramic to shift accommodation for 140 fly-in, fly-out workers, currently situated in Kambalda, to a site next to its Lanfranchi nickel mine, 48 kilometres from the town.

Currently, the shire’s town planning scheme permits worker accommodation only within town site boundaries.

The decision may be relevant to other mine operators who would otherwise be prevented from constructing on-site worker accommodation, if they can show that such construction would contribute to their mining operations.

Ordinarily, the Planning and Development Act requires operators of mining tenements to comply with town planning policy.

However, under the Mining Act, town planning policy cannot affect mining operations.

Justice Tim Sharp found in Panoramic’s favour because construction of onsite worker accommodation would contribute to the Lanfranchi mine’s cost effectiveness, worker safety and morale.

As a result, the proposed construction could be regarded as mining operations and did not have to comply with the shire’s planning scheme.

Coolgardie shire president Malcom Cullen said he was disappointed that the outflow of Kambalda based workers would continue.

“Since fly-in, fly-out started to be used around 10 years ago the town’s population has consistently shrunk,” he said.

Mr Cullen said that, as a result, many of the businesses in the town and owners of investment property had suffered.

Panoramic said its decision to relocate was motivated to a large degree by a desire to ensure its actions were consistent with its commitment to safety. The journey from Kambalda to the Lanfranchi mine is made via a single lane dirt road, and there have been several accidents in recent years.

“Fundamentally it’s a safety issue for us; it’s hypocritical on the one hand to recognise that as an issue and not do anything about it,” Panoramic managing director Peter Harold said.

In addition, many Lanfranchi mineworkers who had left the company had cited the commute as a significant reason for leaving.

The road to the mine has a speed limit of 60 kilometres an hour, adding about an hour each way to many workers’ 12-hour shift.

The town of Kambalda has grown around the nickel mining industry since its discovery there in the 1960s sparked Australia’s first nickel boom.

To help maintain a vibrant community, the Shire of Coolgardie recently opened a $13.6 million community and recreation centre.

The centre incorporates a community library and playgroup as well as a gym, sports hall, tennis courts and swimming pool.

 

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