Saturday, February 4, 2023

Mineral sands project set for public environmental review

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A public environmental review has been set for a mineral sands project proposed for about 21km east of Ledge Point and 800m south of the Moore River due to the extent of further information required, the number of preliminary key environmental factors identified and the moderate level of public interest in the project.

When the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) published its decision to assess the Bidaminna project proposal it said out of the 156 submissions received 153 had called for public environmental review.

The decision signed by deputy chair Lee McIntosh said the EPA considered that insufficient information had been provided with the referral and that a detailed assessment was required to determine the extent of the proposal’s direct and indirect impacts and whether the EPA environmental factor objectives could be met.

The level of assessment set for the proposal, public environmental review, as required under s.40(2)(b) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 requires a six-week public review. Environmental Protection (Cost Recovery) Regulations 2021 apply.

An environmental scoping document prepared by the proponent which defines the proposal specific requirements of the proponent’s environmental review is also required.

According to EPA website during the proposal assessment process an environmental scoping document includes the preliminary key environmental factors that the proponent needs to address and the required work (including studies and investigations) that the proponent needs to carry out.

The EPA said the proposal by Image Resources for south of Orange Springs Rd in the Cowalla locality in the Shire of Gingin could have potential significant effects on: flora and vegetation from the clearing of up to 1000ha; terrestrial fauna from the clearing of habitat and indirect impacts; inland waters from excavation of mine pits, groundwater abstraction and alteration of the hydrological regime; terrestrial environmental quality from disturbance of soil structure and quality; human health from potential radiation exposure; and social surroundings from construction and operation noise, dust emissions and potential impacts to Aboriginal heritage values.

 The EPA’s decision to assess a proposal and the level of assessment is not appealable.

If approved the mineral sands project about 15km south-west of Regan’s Ford could require about 6 GL of groundwater abstraction each year.

The proposal site contains native vegetation constituting potential threatened ecological communities, habitat for threatened species of black cockatoo and mapped conservation category wetlands (damplands).

In an ASX statement on December 22 Image Resources said a final report on the results of a feasibility study on the Bidaminna mineral sands project had been delayed until the first half of 2023.

The statement said Bidaminna was being evaluated as a standalone greenfield mineral sands project utilising low-cost dredge mining with a floating wet concentration plant to produce heavy mineral concentrate.

The Bidaminna deposit has estimated mineral resources of 102 million tonnes at 2.2 per cent total heavy minerals.

The heavy minerals contain 93 per cent valuable heavy minerals including 36 per cent leucoxene, 48 per cent ilmenite, 5 per cent zircon and 4 per cent rutile.

The deposit contains very low slimes (3.3 per cent) and very low oversize (2.2 per cent) with the mineralisation being below the water table and amenable to dredge mining technology.

This article appeared on Yanchep News Online on 23 January 2023.

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