Western Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has agreed with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) over its findings that the Helena and Aurora Range in the Yilgarn area should be protected from mining.
The outback range, which is believed to be among the world’s oldest and is called Bungalbin in the Kalamaia language, is the site of potential iron ore developments by Mineral Resources. The EPA found the company’s proposals to be environmentally unacceptable, a decision that received nine appeals in retort that were eventually rejected by an independent appeals convenor.
“After carefully considering the concerns raised, I have found that the EPA’s assessment was rigorous and comprehensive,” said Dawson. “I agree with the conclusions of the appeals convenor and the reasoning behind those conclusions, and have dismissed the appeals accordingly.”
The environment minister’s comments are not binding however; a final decision is expected to be taken by the WA Government by the end of the year.
“I will not consult with my ministerial colleagues to ensure the social, economic and environmental aspects of this proposal are considered,” the minister added.
Some, such as the Helena and Aurora Range Advocates (HARA) would like to see the range turned into a national park.