The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved the proposed expansion of Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine in Western Australia.
The project is situated approximately 250km south of Perth. The approval recommendation is subject to conditions such as protection of threatened black cockatoos which are exclusively found in Australia’s south-west.
The EPA’s decision follows a four-week public review to assess the environmental impacts by consulting with mining and environmental regulators.
The EPA also recommended to offset the major residual impact of lost habitat for threatened and endangered species such as Carnaby’s and Baudin’s black cockatoos, endangered numbat and the critically endangered Western ringtail possum.
The agency also encouraged the construction of a new road to divert traffic outside the Greenbushes town in order to manage vibration, dust, noise and visual distractions that impact the social surroundings.
The new infrastructure will also incorporate water collection and controls to reduce any negative impacts to water resources in Blackwood Valley catchment.
EPA chair Dr Tom Hatton said: “Habitat types within the development envelope are reported to be well-represented in the immediate vicinity and broader Blackwood district.”
“Clearing of 350ha of native vegetation on mining tenements – in State Forest used for mining since 1888, timber and some agriculture – is unavoidable for the proposal to proceed.”
The Greenbushes mine expansion is aimed at increasing the production of spodumene ore and lithium mineral concentrate from the operation. The mine has been operated for more than 30 years.
Last July, an additional A$516m ($382m) investment was approved for the Greenbushes mine expansion.
Talison Lithium is a joint venture between Tianqi (51%) and its partner Albemarle (49%).