Shree Minerals is confident their Nelson Bay River mine is viable following speculation it would close due to environmental breaches.
The company’s court order to move 80,000 cubic meters of waste rock into its mine pit expired last week and they are facing possible legal action from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). They had only been allowed to store the waste outside the pit for no longer than 30 months.
Shree Minerals’ environmental consultant John Miedecke said the ore would be destroyed if the waste was put back into the pit, according to the ABC.
“We’ve been saying to the EPA and to mines and to the Minister that to do this could well and truly sterilise the resource,” he said.
He went on to say the current dump had a metre-thick compacted clay base with a deign that left no risk of harmful leaching, while Shree implemented other methods to prevent seepage.
He added the company is dedicated to restarting the project.
“It is a magnetite mine and it has a long-term future,” he said.
Earlier in May 2016, the South Australian Government announced a new magnetite strategy, committing an annual export goal of 50 million tonnes of iron ore by 2030.
Miedecke said the company is hopeful of finding a solution to this problem and that speculation around the mine’s closure was not true.
“They’ve told me they don’t want to do that, and if they did want to do that – and I’ve been involved with companies that have gone into administration and receivership – it would have been done about a year, a year and a half ago,” he said.
“They’ve made a pretty big commitment and they’ve funded it, and they’ve done pretty much everything that’s been required by the EPA.”
He added the company was willing to undertake the entire permit process again if discussions with the State Government and its agencies failed.
The mine has been closed since 2014.