Miners asked to hand over Kimberley leases

Miners will be asked to give up leases on the Mitchell Plateau under the WA Opposition’s plans to establish national parks in the Kimberley region.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan said if the Labor party wins the March 9 election, the party will instigate talks with several companies that are exploring mainly for bauxite on the Mitchell Plateau.

These include Rio Tinto and Alcoa.

“We will commence negotiations with the mining lease holders on the Mitchell Plateau to ensure that over time, it is put into a national park,” he said.

McGowan said the threat of future mining on the Mitchell Plateau should be removed, the West reported.

“It is a beautiful area and the idea that it may one day be mined under State Agreement Acts signed 40 or 50 years ago is not acceptable,” he said.

“It should never be mined.”

The opposition said in order to mine bauxite on the Mitchell Plateau a refinery may be required, which was unacceptable.

He reiterated that once exploration leases in the area expired they will not be renewed under a Labor State Government.

“It’s subject to a State Agreement Act so obviously requires the consent of the mining leaseholders but I think a sensible discussion with those mining lease holders should result in a fair and good outcome.”

McGowan said he would be directly involved in the conversations with the leaseholders.

“I am confident people will see the reason in not ever allowing mining on the Mitchell Plateau,” he said.

The opposition leader didn’t expect the explorers would receive compensation and denied the move would be seen as increasing sovereign risk.

“Norman Moore recently closed down eight mining leases in the southwest – that was a far more dramatic decision.”

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