Australia’s largest gold mine, the Kalgoorlie Super Pit, will have its life extended to 2021 after the Western Australian Government gave approval for the operation’s expansion on Friday.
Following the Department of Mines and Petroleum granting final environmental approvals, WA Mines and Petroleum minister Norman Moore said “this expansion – the Golden Pike – is crucial to ensuring the pit’s continued operation.”
He explained that the town of Kalgoorlie Boulder exists because of gold mining, adding that the Super Pit is the backbone of the city.
Moore went on to say that the pit operators Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM), which is a joint venture between Newmont Mining Corporation and Barrick Gold Corporation, had to pass strict environmental regulations prior to approval.
“The conditions were set by the former Minister for the Environment, following formal assessment by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA),” he said.
“The company has demonstrated the same intention as the Department of Mines and Petroleum, to deliver a high standard of environmental performance.”
KCGM will carry out close monitoring of noise and vibrations, dust and air quality, and of its tailings and effects on groundwater throughout the expansion of the pit.
The pit is close to residential areas and every measure will be taken to ensure the impact of the expansion is kept to a minimum, Moore said.
While the Super pit is currently Australia’s largest gold mine, Newmont’s expansion of the Boddington Gold mine is set to increase its size to above that of KCGM’s Super Pit.