On 28 April 2010, a delegation of approximately 40 people, including the Minister for the Environment, Hon. Donna Faragher MLC, and the Member for Geraldton, Ian Blayney MLA, visited Sinosteel Midwest Corporation Ltd’s Koolanooka mite site and Gindalbie’s Karara mine site. The tour was organised by the Geraldton Iron Ore Alliance to launch a research project on the impact of goats on native vegetation across the southern Mid‐West Region. The project is a collaborative effort between GOIA member companies, the Department of Environment and Conservation, and Murdoch University.
Koolanooka Blue Hills – Mine Tour and Environmental Initiatives
The group was given a guided tour of the Koolanooka mine‐site and a given a briefing on project
environmental initiatives and offsets. SMC took the opportunity to demonstrate to the Minister how
our environmental commitments, obligations and conditions specific to our approval have been
translated into practical registers, programs and management systems.
Environmental initiatives that SMC is undertaking were presented to the group and included the
Rehabilitation and Restoration Project
SMC has received feedback from the Department of Mines and Petroleum that the standard of rehabilitation in SMC’s areas of exploration is of a very high standard. Notwithstanding this, SMC is committed to going “above and beyond” legislative requirements in recognition of the sensitive environment in which it operates.
SMC is focused on two areas of habitat restoration, specifically in its exploration and mining operations. The Botanic Garden and Parks Authority (BGPA) has been engaged by SMC to conduct a three month scoping study for biodiversity rehabilitation at the Koolanooka/Blue Hills and Weld Range projects. The BGPA are well experienced in the area of biodiversity rehabilitation with ongoing research projects with companies such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.
Greenhouse Gas Project SMC
is committed to ensuring compliance with proposed Federal and State government greenhouse gas emissions legislation and implementing sustainable processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In order to meet the proposed requirements, SMC has contracted Global Scene, a specialist consultant in greenhouse gas emissions reporting and management, to conduct a greenhouse gas gap analysis of the Koolanooka/Blue Hills project’s current operations. Global Scene will set up a reporting system that can be implemented at all our sites.
As a component of the overall Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the Koolanooka/ Blue Hills project, SMC has developed a specific Malleefowl Management Plan (MMP) to provide management actions for adoption through all phases of the project. SMC has also become a member of the Malleefowl Preservation Group (MPG), which provides access to a wide range of information on the species and current conservation programs. Membership will allow us to contribute to this understanding and participate in MPG activities.
Any Malleefowl seen in and around the operation are reported via the Malleefowl Sighting Form. This information is recorded and forwarded to DEC and the MPG. SMC’s MMP will contribute to the protection of Malleefowl and their habitat at the Koolanooka/Blue Hills mining project, including the access haul road between the two sites.
SMC has committed to several environmental offset measures for the Koolanooka/Blue Hills Project, all of which will contribute directly or indirectly to offset environmental impacts, including those to the Malleefowl. The offsets for the project are the result of extensive consultation with the DEC and EPA and will be implemented for the life of the project (approximately 5 years). At Koolanooka, a parcel of land (within the Koolanooka TEC) of approximately 2,500ha will be fenced and managed to restrict intrusion of sheep and feral goats. The main objective is to provide long‐term protection to flora and fauna within this area.
Additionally, this will enhance the survival of any Malleefowl within the fenced area via habitat protection. At Blue Hills, SMC will relinquish 5,270ha of tenements to directly offset the impacts of mining the BIF ridges within the area. Additionally, SMC has committed a $100,000 contribution to DEC’s conservation management programs in the Blue Hills area. After consultation with DEC, SMC has decided to allocate funding equally to both on‐ground projects and strategic planning. The specifics of each allocation will be determined through on‐going consultation with the DEC.
The key message to the delegation was that SMC is taking our environmental responsibilities and commitments very seriously and is working hard on the translation of these into specific actions and management systems. Additionally, SMC emphasised that the systems and experience gained at the KBH Project will be transferrable to other projects such as Weld Range.
Manager Project Approvals
30 April 2009
Click here to download the full announcement.