AMEC calls for clearer development plans in WA’s Kimberley

Western Australia's mining industry representatives are calling for clearer resource development plans in the state’s Kimberley region.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies calls to review the region’s development come after Premier Colin Barnett on Monday told Rio Tinto and Alcoa “they’re dreaming” about plans to develop an extensive bauxite resource in the region.

AMEC’s chief executive Simon Bennison said the Kimberley was rich in mineral and thus approvals and planning should not be done on an ad-hoc basis, the West reported.

"The Kimberley region is very prospective from a mining and exploration viewpoint," Bennison said.

"If the State Government is going to restrict mining within the region then a proper consultation and review process needs to take place with industry."

Rio Tinto and Alcoa’s Bauxite deposit is located 115km south-west of Kalumburu and is surrounded by national parks.

Together Rio and Alcoa have applied for a two to three year extension of the State Agreement over the bauxite deposit.

The government must make a decision on the agreement by month’s end.

However Barnett said the site’s remote location and lack of viability in its current state potentially means the resource could be handed back to tax payers in the future.

"There is no serious plan to go ahead with development there and in fact I'll say I don't think the bauxite resource will ever be developed," Mr Barnett said.

Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard said Barnett needs to formalise a ban on bauxite mining in the area just as the government has done with coal in Margaret River.

"I think the Premier needs to decide once and for all whether there should be bauxite mining on the Mitchell Plateau or not," he said.

Just last week Australian Mining reported the Western Australian Government would ban mining activity within a 72sq km radius of the Horizontal Falls site.

Mines and petroleum minister Norman Moore said at the time that exploration applications in the area had been voluntarily withdrawn by Pegasus Metals, Koolan Iron Ore and Kimminco "as a show of support for the state's move to protect the falls".

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