Mineral sands mine gets nod from EPA

Catherine MasseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Craig Bovell and Lauren Johnston, from Doral Mineral Sands.
Camera IconCraig Bovell and Lauren Johnston, from Doral Mineral Sands.

A proposal to build and operate a mineral sands mine in Yalyalup was last week recommended for approval by the Environmental Protection Authority.

The Yalyalup Mineral Sands Project, 11km from Busselton, would include the development of mine pits, solar evaporation ponds, a wet concentration processing plant and infrastructure for water management.

EPA deputy chair Lee McIntosh said the new mineral sands operation would be on 453ha of predominantly cleared agricultural land, about 6km from the company’s existing Yoongarillup mine.

Approval for the mine is subject to conditions including minimising the impact to habitat enjoyed by the endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoo.

“The proposal had the potential to impact on up to three threatened ecological communities, one threatened flora species and a conservation-significant fauna habitat,” Ms McIntosh said.

“Through the environmental-impact assessment process, the proponent has committed to avoid clearing these threatened and significant areas,” she said.

Management plans from Doral Mineral Sands also outlined the best course of action for potential operational impacts such as groundwater drawdown.

In addition, the EPA also recommended preparation of an Abba River management strategy was due in consultation with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.

The EPA’s report to the environment minister, who will make the final decision, is open for public appeal until February 1 at appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au.

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