The EPA has approved the extension of the joint venture Rio Tinto and Gina Rinehart iron ore mine Hope Downs.
The joint venture Hamersley HMS’s Hope Downs mine, 75 kilometres north-west of Newman, has approved to be expanded to include the Baby Hope proposal.
In order to obtain the approval, Hamersley had to create a mine closure plan for rehabilitation purposes and contribute to a conservation fund set up by the Government to mitigate the effects of clearing 800 hectares of vegetation for the project.
The approval comes after BHP Billiton Iron Ore signed a significant native-title agreement with traditional owners in the Pilbara that permitted mining on their country for one hundred years.
Up to 400 Banjima people, who gained their native title rights in 2013, will receive benefits and access to employment, as well as an unspecified sum of royalty payments that could amount to billions of dollars.
It is understood that the 3,000-plus page agreement facilitates payments to the Banjima people based on BHP’s iron ore production and the price of the commodity.