Small iron ore mine approved in the Pilbara

The first Indigenous-owned and operated mine in the Pilbara has been approved by the WA government.

Australian Aboriginal Mining Corporation is seeking to mine 2-4 million tonnes of iron ore at its Extension project 70 kilometres north-west of Newman.

The mine would require supporting infrastructure, including an access road, internal roads, ore crushing facilities and an accommodation camp.

The Environmental Protection Authority found that minimal impacts of the mine to flora and fauna could be easily managed and recommended the mine for approval.

"The only two factors that we considered were flora and vegetation, and the issue of offsets because the area it's in is subject to increasing development pressure,” EPA chairman Doctor Paul Vogel said.

"Minimising disturbance by backfilling and having buffers around important plant communities are all measures the company will implement to avoid and minimise their environmental impacts on the area.”

The location of the project is near BHP’s Yandi mine and Fortescue Metals Group's Cloudbreak operation.

It is believed AAMC will need to secure a third-party rail and shipping deal before making a final investment decision on the project.

It is also thought a major uptake in the price of iron ore will be required before mining can commence.

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