The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has confirmed it will assess the Oakajee infrastructure project at the Public Environmental Review (PER) level.
Oakajee Port and Rail (OPR) submitted two separate documents outlining the terrestrial port development and the 570 km rail development respectively.
OPR acting chief executive Alwyn Vorster said the decision was an important step in the environmental approval process.
“OPR believes the PER is the most appropriate approach to environmental assessment, involving a consultative process that is in the best interests of all stakeholders,” he said.
“The process is also consistent with OPR’s development timetable and supports timely and efficient delivery of the project.”
The PER will involve a four week public review period, expected in mid-2010.
The company said it aims to complete the approvals and other project feasibility work next year, to allow construction to begin in early-2011.
According to Vorster, the Oakajee project would play a pivotal role in unlocking the vast mineral riches of the mid-west region.
“This is a nationally significant project that will transform the regional economy of the mid-west,” he said.
Murchison Metals, a 50% stakeholder in the project, said it was pleased with the outcome.