A proposal to extend the depth and area of existing mine pits of BC Iron in the Pilbara region of Australia has been recommended for approval by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
BC Pilbara Iron Ore Pty intended to revise its Iron Valley Above Water Table Project, which is located 90km north-west of Newman.
The existing project was approved in February 2013.
The revised proposal covers development of a new mine pit, with mining operations extending below the water table, and dewatering of the underlying aquifer.
EPA chairman Dr Tom Hatton said the agency tested the proposal against important environmental factors, including flora and vegetation, hydrological processes and inland water environmental quality before recommending the proposal could be implemented subject to seven conditions.
Hatton added: “The conditions we have recommended include preparation of an outcome-based environmental management plan to minimise the long-term impacts from groundwater abstraction and surplus dewater discharge run-off, and alterations to surface water flows to Weeli Wolli Creek.
“Conditions also require the proponent to minimise hydrological impacts to Aboriginal heritage values linked to the creek and to contribute to an approved conservation offsets fund.”
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is currently open for a two-week public appeal period, which will close on 31 October.
Appeals are administered independently by the Appeals Convenor.