Coal miner appeals Margaret River decision

LD Operations is lodging an appeal against its proposal for an underground coal mine in West Australia’s Margaret River region.

Its application for the mine was previously rejected by the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on the grounds that it would ‘pose a risk to nearby aquifers’.

However, the miner is now accusing the EPA of “selective, inadequate and incomplete consideration” of advice from various government agencies, according to The West Australian.

LD Operations have called for environment minister Bill Marmion to carry out a full assessment of the projected coal mine.

The miner claims that EPA decision to label the coal mine ‘environmentally unacceptable’ is “so fundamentally flawed that the report can not be relied upon.”

The EPA report originally stated that “even though some of the significant impacts, or risks, may be presented as being manageable because of their low probability of occurring, the environmental consequences of some low probability event may be so serious, widespread or irreversible that the proposal, taken as a whole, on balance, presents unacceptable risks to important environmental values, and thus makes the proposal environmentally unacceptable."

LD Operations managing director Peter Ross called this statement “fundamentally flawed”, adding that “the EPA’s determination is without merit and is contradictory to the material before the authority, including that provided by government agencies”

Residents of the region have hit out at the miner, stating that it did not listen to community concerns.
Local action group No COALaition spokesperson Ian Parmenter has previously claimed that LD Operations is ignoring critical advice.

"It’s just farcical, they are just clutching at straws, the potential dangers to the water in this region should rule it out completely, not just for this one mine but from all other proposed mining in this south west corner," he said.

Regarding Ross’ claims that the study was flawed, Parmenter stated that “the EPA made a thorough analysis of the information that was provided to them and came up with the only logical answer which was this is totally unacceptable.”

Parmenter went on to say that “(EPA chairman) Paul Vogel was right in ruling it environmentally unacceptable and LD Operations needs to be knocked on the head and told to go away."

The State Government is already considering whether to introduce legislation to protect the area from mining.

WA premier Colin Barnett said that any laws introduced would be similar to those protecting the Swan Valley, but added that “we’re not legislating to stop the mining industry. If we legislate, it’s to protect the unique, tourist and agricultural characteristics of Margaret River.”

Fellow coal miner Western Coal has also applied for mining leases in the Margaret River region.

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