The Fingerboards mineral sands mine near Bairnsdale in Victoria will not proceed, as Planning Minister Richard Wynne concluded the project would have unacceptable risks to the environment.
Wynne accepted the independent advisory committee recommendation that found the project would significantly impact local wildlife, vegetation, air quality, agriculture and horticulture.
The assessment also concluded the project would have posed significant risks to surface water downstream of the proposed mine.
Wynne required Kalbar Operations to prepare an environment effects statement for the proposed mineral sand mine project − located 20 kilometres northwest of Bairnsdale.
Kalbar had proposed extracting approximately 170 million tonnes of ore over a projected mine life of 20 years.
An independent inquiry and advisory committee reviewed the environment effects statement and held public hearings from May to July 2021.
The committee concluded the environmental effects of the project could not be managed to an acceptable level and the project should not proceed in its current form.
Wynne said he has accepted the committee’s recommendation not to proceed with planning permissions for this project.
“We owe it to the community and the environment to get this right and ensure only projects that adequately protect our environment go ahead,” he said.
“The committee’s review of the environment effects statement found this project would pose a significant risk to the environment and valuable horticulture industry.”
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said the decision is based on a thorough and considered EES assessment and Independent Advisory Committee process.
“It’s an outcome that recognises the concerns raised by the community and primary producers, including on the environmental and economic impacts of the project, and the importance of East Gippsland’s horticulture and tourism industries,” she said.
The project was recognised in June by Minerals Council of Australia’s executive director James Sorahan when he acknowledged the potential in the region.
“Victoria’s mineral sands projects, including Kalbar Resources’ Fingerboards HMS project near Bairnsdale, Donald Mineral Sands’ project near Minyip, VHM Limited’s project near Swan Hill and WIM Resources’ Avonbank project near Horsham, have the potential to develop into a global hub for mineral sands (zircon and titanium) and rare earths,” Sorahan said.