The Western Australia Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended for approval Rio Tinto's $3.5bn open cut iron ore mine in the Pilbara region.
Rio Tinto subsidiary Mount Bruce Mining is planning to develop the proposed Koodaideri iron ore mine, which sits approximately 110km west-north-west of Newman in Pilbara.
The mine has a mine life of 30 years and is expected to produce up to 70 million tonnes of iron ore a year.
Koodaideri's development includes mine pits, ore processing areas, waste dumps and a storage facility, as well as railway and infrastructure corridors.
The EPA has imposed a total of 14 conditions, including a management plan and the creation of buffers to protect a colony of bats.
Western Australia's EPA chairman Dr Paul Vogel said: "The management plan and exclusion zones will also protect the Koodaideri Spring and the associated creek and pools that provide a near permanent source of water, which in turn will safeguard vegetation as well as habitat for the Pilbara leaf-nosed bat, northern quoll and the Pilbara olive python.
"Although the risk of the proposal increasing the spread of asbestos in the environment is low, the EPA is taking a cautious approach by recommending a condition on asbestos management during design and construction of the rail line."
Image: Rio Tinto's Koodaideri iron ore mine receives conditional approval from the EPA. Photo: © Rio Tinto 2014.