Margaret River coal mine review delayed

A review into LD Operations rejected coal exploration application in the Margaret River region has been pushed back.

The miner originally put forth an application to mine in the region, but met fierce opposition from community groups.

Its application for exploration was then denied by the Environmental Protection Authority, which deemed the mine a potential risk to nearby aquifers.

In a release, the EPA stated that "the board considered that there is likely to be significant impacts, or risks, from the proposal on the Leederville and Sues Aquifers, and on significant environmental values, including the social surrounds of the Margaret River region, which these aquifers support.

"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."

WA Premier Colin Barnett supported the decision, saying that despite the fact that the mine was never appropriate the Government ensured that due process was followed.

However LD Operations quickly appealed the decision, with managing director Peter Ross stating “we are still quite confused, it’s a report that really doesn’t highlight anything that we believe justifies the decision," he said.

The miner asked Environmental Minister Bill Marmion to reconsider the EPA’s recommendations that the mine would propose significant environmental and noise pollution risks.

This move brought anger from groups opposed to the mine, with Margaret River local and spokesperson for No COALalition, Ian Parmenter, saying the miner is not listening to the EPA’s decision.

"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.

Parmenter believes the studies were sufficient and that coal mining is not necessary in the region.

Marmion has now appointed Garry Middle to oversee the appeals committee, the ABC reports.

Middle has met with the miner and other business groups opposed to the EPA decision, and was due to make a recommendation later this month.

However, Middle has request more time for the assessment, stating that he is likely to need at least another month.

 

We recently sat down with LD Operations managing director Peter Ross to talk about what the miner is doing and the state of the industry.

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