Native title delays gypsum mining for Esperance farmers

Native title objections to licence renewals at the Lake Tay gypsum mine have led to a call to reduce red tape.

After a lengthy process to bypass the native title objection, the Lake Tay Mine is now set to reopen, allowing Esperance farmers direct access to the sought-after fertiliser.

Local MP Dr Graham Jacobs said the automatic objection to the mine’s licence renewal constituted an onerous process which caused unnecessary expense.

“The automatic objection by the Native Title Tribunal led to much expense of time and energy in lifting the objection, and the requirement to have a mining proposal drawn up on the mine access road, a road that had been established long ago and of which nothing was changing, are examples of this,” he said.

The Lake Tay Mine has already been mined for 15 years with an extractive licence for gypsum.

Dr Jacobs said he would present a grievance to parliament, as well as meet with West Australian minister for mines and petroleum Bill Marmion to discuss the reduction of “red and green tape” surrounding mining applications.

“I will be moving to change this so we don’t have repeats of this madness which costs taxpayers and industry alike,” Jacobs said.

The Lake Tay mine is located 150km north-west of Esperance, however farmers are currently forced to source gypsum from Norseman, around 200km away.

Gypsum is used as a sulphur fertiliser, a calcium fertiliser, or at higher rates as a soil conditioner which adjusts pH levels and acts as a wetting agent.

It is usually applied to paddocks before the first rain of the season.

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