WA COAL MINE FOR MARGARET RIVER REJECTED BY ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTER

WA COAL MINE NOT TO GO AHEAD IN MARGARET RIVER WINE GROWING DISTRICT

The company driving a proposed coal mine in West Australia’s internationally-renowned wine region is looking into its options after the bid was rejected by the WA environment minister.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion on Wednesday rejected Vasse Coal Management’s proposal to develop a coal mine north-east of Margaret River due to environmental risk concerns.

The Minister backed Environmental Protection Authority recommendations made earlier in the year, which warned there would be significant impacts or risks from the proposed mine in Margaret River on the Leederville and Sue aquifers.

Five appeals to the EPA recommendations were made, which Mr Marmion will now have to take to the WA planning minister before the rejection can be finalised.

”Margaret River is a unique region with important environmental values which should be protected. From an environmental perspective, this project is too risky,” Mr Marmion said in a statement.

It was the second time Mr Marmion had knocked back appeals against the EPA recommendations to halt coal mining in as many days and meant there would be no new coal mining approvals in WA for the year.

Vasse Coal Project joint venture partners Vasse Coal and South West Coal engaged LD Operations to manage the approvals process.

LDO managing director Peter Ross said Mr Marmion’s decision went against the advice of government agencies and independent experts that further information was needed before the proposal’s environmental acceptability could be determined.

“LDO will now consider its rights with regards to the Minister’s decision,” he said in a statement.

The WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy has warned against a blanket ban on mining in Margaret River.

CME director Nicole Roocke said the Chamber was responsible for the one of the EPA appeals because it did not believe the decision against Vasse Coal had been based on proper research.

“CME appealed on the grounds the report lacked process and procedural fairness and departed from the Administrative Procedures used in the assessment process, which were established to provide certainty to industry, government and the public,” Ms Roocke said in a statement.

“It is important for all proponents and parties that such processes are consistent and transparent, and that the EPA establishes an evidence base to support decisions impacting the commercial position of resource companies.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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