Roy Hill Iron Ore has amended its Pilbara mine proposal to significantly increase its ground disturbance footprint, incorporate a water strategy and revise waste material management.
The amendments to the mining proposal, which was submitted to the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), would see Roy Hill increase its ground disturbance footprint by 5995 hectares.
The company’s rationale for changing the mining plans are based on Roy Hill’s increased knowledge of the ore body.
Based on its customers’ needs for a higher blend of iron ore, Roy Hill has outlined that it requires multiple pits to be open at the same time to achieve this higher blend.
In line with these changes, Roy Hill also introduced a life of mine water strategy for water abstraction, dewatering activities and a managed aquifer recharge, and developed permanent waste management strategies including a surface water structure, backfilling of pits and waste rock dump locations.
These changes would see an increase to Roy Hill’s greenhouse gas emissions through power generation and combustion of fossil fuels.
The EPA has stated that Roy Hill must estimate its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions for the mine and assess its contribution to regional, state, national and international emissions.
It has also identified further risks including erosion, changes to surface water flows and contamination of surface and groundwater.
“(Roy Hill’s) required work (is to) provide a conceptual water mine balance over the life of the proposal to discuss the capacity to reuse surplus mine dewater,” the EPA stated.
“(Roy Hill) must assess the impacts of the proposal on heritage sites and/or cultural associations, including those arising from changes to the environment which may impact on ethnographic and archaeological heritage significance.”
The Roy Hill mine has an initial mine life of 17 years.
During this time, it is anticipated to produce 72 million tonnes per annum of wet run-of-mine (ROM) ore feed for the processing plant, making it one of the Pilbara’s largest mines.
All public submissions regarding the Roy Hill Iron Ore project are due by January 25.