Ramelius Resources’ proposed expansion of its Greenfinch open pit operation at the Edna May gold mine has been rejected by the Western Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.
The rejection was motivated by the removal of four threatened native plants, Eremophila resinoa and its associated habitat.
Greenfinch’s expansion will now be delayed for up to six months. It’s been facing environmental hurdles since Ramelius’ purchase of the adjacent Edna May mine from Evolution Mining in October 2017.
The Minister’s dismissal adds to the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS)’s prior rejection of Greenfinch expansion in November 2018.
Ramelius appealed the DMIRS rejection, revised Greenfinch’s project footprint and reduced its proposed clearing area from 48.8 to 26.3 hectares.
The company claimed its revised submission was not assessed, with the latest dismissal based on Greenfinch’s original clearing permit.
“We are very disappointed that the Greenfinch open pit development is now subject to yet further delay,” Ramelius managing director Mark Zeptner said.
“To be invited to submit a revised proposal and not have it assessed was surprising, and only adds further delay to a process that has been running for more than 18 months.
“Although the ounces contributed by this operation compared to overall group production are relatively small, the presence of an open pit mine adjacent to our Edna May underground operation would have contributed meaningfully to the business and employment in the Westonia area.
“There remains $100 million of gold value sitting in the ground and almost 100 jobs on standby.”