A landmark 50 to 100-year strategic mining proposal for the Pilbara by resources giant, BHP, has just been approved by the Western Australian Government.
BHP’s Pilbara Expansion Strategic Proposal reveals a comprehensive picture of the miner’s planned and potential operations across the region including mining operations, rail, storage areas, dams and associated mine infrastructure.
Premier Mark McGowan said this is a major job-creating plan for Western Australia and has the potential to deliver tens of thousands of jobs for local Western Australians.
“It is another sign our economy is improving with the major miner taking a long-term view of its proposals in the State,” he said.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has assessed any forecasted impacts to flora and fauna, water quality and quantity, air quality as well as social surrounds, and has recommended environmental approval of BHP’s strategic proposal, with conditions.
These include the implementation of a cultural heritage management plan, a mine closure plan and offsets through contributions to the Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund where significant residual impacts remain.
Strategic proposals help to reduce red and green tape, allowing the EPA to consider the cumulative impacts of future proposals, rather than assessing impacts on a case-by-case basis, as individual mines or developments are proposed.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) WA welcomed the approval, stating that blockages and inefficiencies with environmental approvals are consistently highlighted as a key concern by its members.
“This hurts the economy by wasting resources, delaying new projects and discouraging business investment, ultimately costing WA jobs.”
The CCI believes that a more strategic approach to environmental approvals will provide more certainty for project proponents, unlock investment opportunities and boost jobs.
“The announcement shows that the State Government has listened closely to job-creating businesses and is helping to clear roadblocks to get more people back into work,” CCI said.