The Western Australian mining warden has rejected three applications for bauxite exploration in the state's south.
The move has been applauded by some conservationists and farmers, who are driving for the region to be protected from mining.
In refusing the application the warden cited the public interest in protecting productive farming land and state forest between Manjimup and Bridgetown.
In a statement the Bauxite and Alumina Action Group, which has been running a campaign against the mining industry, said the warden's decision was a welcome and "highly significant" development.
“We are delighted a Mining Warden sitting in the Manjimup Courthouse has recognised the high value of State Forest and prime agricultural land, and that it would be against the public interest for the bauxite exploration and mining to go ahead," it said.
While the warden has recommended Minister for minerals and petroleum Norman Moore refuse the applications, they can still be referred to the Environmental Protection Agency with the transcript of the warden's report.
In a statement Bauxite Resources said Moore's department would soon seek comments and submissions on the ruling from affected parties, including the company.
Following this final feedback Moore will make a final decision on the exploration licences.