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Don’t forget to read : "In the Press" for all current and past bauxite articles covered by the Toodyay Herald!!!

Chittering, Bullsbrook sign on to stop local mining

Last month AHMAG made a last-ditch appeal for new members to step up to continue the campaign to stop open-cut mining within a 100km radius of Perth.

Our advertisements and stories in The Northern Valleys News, Toodyay Herald and Gidgegram generated a groundswell of interest, particularly from residents in Bullsbrook and Chittering who are now concerned about not only Chalice Mining’s exploration activities but that of ‘new kid on the block’ Oar Resources Limited (ASX: OAR).

On June 16 Oar was granted permission to explore 87km2 (E70/5406) in the Chittering Valley less than 10km from Chalice’s Gonneville nickel, copper, gold and platinum group elements discovery in the Julimar region of Toodyay.

Oar likened its tenement’s potential, the Crown Project, to that of Chalice’s resource area and commenced negotiating access with landholders with on-ground reconnaissance work starting in mid July.

On August 5 Oar reported to the ASX that the first phase of its project was “well underway” and that results from “initial geological mapping and rock chip sampling programs were “encouraging”.

The company plans to conduct more geological mapping and rock chip sampling which will be followed by “systematic geochemical soil sampling and then, subject to results, a maiden drilling program on initial primary targets”.

Meanwhile Chalice is steaming ahead and on August 2 reported to the ASX that it had located another potentially high-grade area in the north-western section of the Gonneville Project in the Julimar State Forest and that state government department feedback on gaining access to drill in the forest has been “positive”.

AHMAG welcomes all its new members and thanks them for standing up for their environment and lifestyle and looks forward to working with a re-energised committee.

Keep in touch at facebook.avon/hills or write to PO Box 111 Gidgegannup WA 6083.

If you look at the map and see that your property has been pegged for mining exploration and would like to make a donation to our group, we have an account at the Toodyay and Districts Bendigo Community Bank BSB 633-000, account number 152776654.

Mining Watchdog Urges Julimar to Take Lead

For almost seven years AHMAG has been campaigning to stop open-cut mining in our area and core members will soon be stepping aside.

We need people to commit to protecting our environment and lifestyle now and urge interested parties to ring 9574 7166 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before Tuesday September 14.

Our fully incorporated group has all the resources for a new committee to start on a sound financial footing with guidance from retiring members.

AHMAG was formed in 2014 when the threat of bauxite mining galvanised the communities of Morangup, Toodyay, Gidgegannup, Wooroloo and Wundowie.

In 2015 a 4,500 signature petition was presented to both Houses of Parliament but with the threat of bauxite mining going onto the back burner, AHMAG shifted its focus to opposing all forms of open-cut mining within a 100km radius of Perth and also started monitoring large-scale extractive industries such as gravel mining.

More than 5,000 signatures have been collected for the new wider-ranging petition which will not be presented to Parliament if AHMAG folds.

A core group of members raised awareness and much-needed funds at local agricultural shows, markets and car boot sales and the group has a good stock of merchandise and equipment to attend local events.

Over the years many people have worked hard to inform the public about the negative impacts of mining and it will be a great shame if this important work ends.

If no-one steps up to form a committee we will have no option but to close. There will be no more articles in The Gidgegram and The Toodyay Herald and our web site and Facebook page with more than 1,000 followers will be taken down.
It’s now or never and we all know that once it’s gone – it’s gone. Please don’t let this happen to our environment and rural lifestyle.

STOP PRESS:

On August 9 Chalice Mining applied for seven more exploration permits which take in parts of Julimar State Forest and other nature reserves.

The four applications to explore the Julimar forest are big blocks as is one in the Avon Valley National Park and smaller sections of Clackline Nature Reserve and Drummond Nature Reserve are also pegged.

Chalice’s proposed exploration footprint has increased. To see if your area is in the company’s sights register with Land Tracker Maps (it’s free) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and search for tenements E70/5861 through to E70/5867.

Chalice Submits Second Plan to Drill Forest

IN JUNE AHMAG advised of a joint venture (JV) between Lithium Australia and as yet ASX-unlisted Charger Metals to explore for nickel, copper, gold and platinum group elements near the town of Wundowie (Coates Project).

Early last month Lithium Australia handed over the exploration reins to Charger Metals to explore for the valuable minerals which Chalice Mining is also chasing in the Julimar region west of Toodyay.

Lithium Australia retains a 30 per cent stake in the Coates Project JV but will concentrate on transitioning from explorer to lithium processor.

Chalice Mining’s discovery of the valuable Julimar ore body in 2019 is now the benchmark for all recent discoveries of nickel, copper and platinum group elements.

The Wundowie Coates Project JV referenced the similarity and Chalice flagged its own Thor Project near Manjimup as “a Julimar lookalike”.

In an ASX report on July 2 Chalice confirmed promising test results from drilling on private property which it owns in the vicinity of Keating Road in Julimar.

The company now owns seven properties in the area and has seven drill rigs operating but it is yet to gain permission to access and drill an area in Julimar State Forest where the company believes a high-grade body of ore exists.

Chalice has submitted a second Conservation Management Plan to access the forest where it intends to use track-mounted drilling rigs which have less impact on the environment than standard mounted drilling rigs.

The company has already been allowed access to the forest to conduct “non-ground disturbing exploration activities”.

Julimar, at this stage, is the southern tip of a 26k-long area of interest which runs to the north of New Norcia but Chalice has also pegged tenements as far south as Gidgegannup.

To take a three-dimensional highly technical tour of Chalice’s Julimar Project visit https://inventum3d.com/c/chalicemining/julimar .

 

How to mine info on exploration

 LANDTRACKER Maps covers all applications for new mining tenements in Australian states and territories.

The site is updated daily and can be accessed on PCs, tablets and smart phones and best of all, it’s free.

You can set up an area to monitor and each week an email message will advise what new applications have been made or will report that there were “no new rows”, meaning no new tenement applications were made in your area.

Satellite images are available but to see who has applied, use the standard map which shows the tenements marked in blue and green.

The blue ‘blocks’ are awaiting approval and are listed as ‘pending’; green means exploration approval has been granted and that the tenement is ‘live’ until its expiry date.

To view the information on the applicant you need to turn on the ‘tenement label tag’ in the task bar.

AHMAG’s latest notification of a new application by Chalice Mining in its monitoring area was on May 26 when the company registered E70/5799 south of the Bindoon-Dewars Pool Road.

At the start of June, Chalice reported in an ASX announcement that it has applied to explore 8000km2 in the shires of Toodyay, Chittering, Victoria Plains and Swan (see map).

Chalice currently holds 180km2 of active exploration tenements in the western part of Toodyay Shire from Keating Road to Dewars Pool.

Donations are always welcome to support our group’s efforts to keep you informed about local mining proposals. These can be made at Toodyay and Districts Bendigo Community Bank AHMAG account BSB 633-000 account number 152776654.

Better still, become a member. It’s cheaper than chips at $10 a year.


(Image courtesy of Chalice Mining Limited)

Alarming trend ignores scientific data

Doug Blandford*


THERE is an alarming trend developing in the Toodyay Shire regarding the level of technical expertise and a lack of fundamental scientific data being put forward in support of applications for development projects which include waste disposal, gravel extraction licences and road upgrades.

It all began with Opal Vale, back around 2014, when an application to use an abandoned clay pit for waste disposal was submitted.

Despite submissions from highly regarded technical consultants and experts in their fields,the waste disposal project was approved.

It is very significant that not one of the Strategy Objectives of The Western Australian Waste Strategy addresses considers in any form, site selection criteria for waste disposal sites for landfill.

In December 2017 I submitted a report to Mundaring Shire Council pointing out that the environmental management program put forward by Trico Resources for a very substantial upgrade for a gravel pit expansion, fell well short of the standards expected and lacked any robust scientific evidence to support the proposed program.

Some three years later, I made a presentation to the Mundaring Shire Council regarding this same application.

Last month the council decision was appealed, and the State Administrative Tribunal has directed the council to reverse its decision and approve the application with additional conditions recommended.  But nothing has really changed.

Further, I have just reviewed the worst Extractive Industry Licence application I have ever read in my 55 years’ experience.

In terms of the physical environment, the potential environmental impacts and the associated rehabilitation and revegetation management strategies,the report also falls well short of the standards expected.

This application was submitted by Capitary No3 Pty Ltd (Midland Brick) to extend its clay extraction project at Salt Valley Road, Hoddys Well.

It seems that the submission was written by people with expertise in town planning, as there was no science supporting the application.  Only four pages were devoted to Site Description describing the bio-physical environment, yet 21 pages are devoted to the Statutory Framework.

The absence of science-based evidence in support of this application and the apparent reliance on statutory requirements as being the panacea for project approval, is an embarrassing admission of ignorance and incompetence by the proponent and its consultants.

And now, it is impossible to walk around Toodyay and not hear the local folk questioning the extent of vegetation clearing associated with the Main Roads WA roadworks being carried out in the Toodyay Shire.

What is more, I suspect that there will be a lot more of this sort of activity over the coming years.

This will be particularly so if both the gravel and clay extraction licences are approved, Chalice Mining starts developing its Julimar ore body and any number of the, up to six, organisations with exploration leases in the Toodyay area and surrounds, start getting results.

Once this happens, Toodyay Road will become an industrial artery.

What is of major concern is that back in December 2005 Main Roads was granted a State-wide Clearing Permit CPS 818 for the clearing of native vegetation related to standard project activities and where the proposed clearing of native vegetation isn’t considered to have a significant environmental impact.

There can be little doubt that there is an increasing level of corporate arrogance creeping into development projects.

Why is this so?  Don’t these organisations understand the fundamentals of environmental management, and particularly the basic principles of revegetation?

Main Roads quotes its Rip and Respread technique in environmental management.  I have seen some very impressive failures from the application of this technique on roadworks in the region, yet the MRWA website notes: “We are committed to protecting and enhancing the environment, heritage values and social values in all of our activities.”

Before you start any sort of revegetation program, spend some time understanding the system or the physical framework that you are going to disturb, or the system that you are going to revegetate, such as a road batter or waste rock dump.

If you don’t understand the physical framework of the pre-disturbance state, and the component roles in supporting vegetation, then you will never successfully emulate these conditions in a revegetation program.

It is rather sad, that in this day and age, this concept is poorly understood as is evidenced by those who insist on dominating nature.

We cannot dominate nature – and we cannot manufacture nature.  But, if we understand the physical framework of a site, and the systems that have evolved over the past several million years, then we can, quite legitimately work with nature.

* Doug Blandford is a Toodyay-based Environmental Earth Scientist.

Massive gravel pit gets green light

SIX YEARS ago, when AHMAG began raising awareness about proposed open-cut bauxite mining in our area, extractive industries such as gravel, clay, granite and sand quarrying were not on our radar.

In the past, extractive industry sites were relatively small-scale projects sourcing local products for the domestic market with low-level truck movements and generally minor environmental impacts.

The recent approval of Trico Resources massive gravel pit at 3650 Toodyay Road Bailup and a pending application to increase clay extraction at Lot M1919 Salt Valley Road Hoddys Well signals the shift from small quarrying enterprises to large-scale projects resembling mining.

Last October Mundaring Shire Council refused Trico’s bid to increase gravel extraction from 47,000 to 950,000 tonnes a year and, as expected, the company appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).

The council sought further investigation of the impacts on water resources, dust management, increased traffic movements and loss of community amenity, and after months of mediation at SAT voted to approve Trico’s application on April 13.

The approval was granted subject to 28 conditions but the increase in truck movements from 20 to 132 a day had already been approved by the WA Planning Commission and could not be factored into the SAT discussions.

Before the gravel trucks start rolling six days a week from 7am to 5pm, Trico will have to make major upgrades to the pit’s entry and exit points and seal a 100m access road to the site.

If approved by the Toodyay Shire Council, the Capitary No. 3 Pty Ltd’s (Midland Brick) application to increase clay extraction from three pits in Hoddys Well to 100,000 tonnes a year will result in a 20m deep pit at the end of the 10-year project and add further truck movements to Toodyay Road.

Depending on demand, Midland Brick’s Clay Extraction Management Plan states that five to 10 trucks per hour will be required over 90 days throughout the year.

If approval is granted, the clay trucks will operate from 7am to 5pm on weekdays excluding public holidays.

Main Roads WA has identified Toodyay Road as a “strategic transport corridor” and in last month’s Herald defended the clearing of 55ha of native vegetation during the roadworks on the grounds of “safety for road users”.

Slowly but surely the natural environment is coming under threat from mining proposals and ramped-up extractive industries and locals should be concerned not only for their safety on Toodyay Road but for what we are losing for future generations.

If you care about any of these issues please step up and become a member. It’s only $10 a year.

Chalice buys more land

ON April 19 Chalice Mining Ltd announced it was in the process of acquiring four more private properties south of the Julimar State Forest where it has discovered significant deposits of nickel, copper, gold and platinum group elements.

Chalice is offering $11.25 million in cash and just over one million ordinary company shares to secure the blocks which cover 723ha.

Once these properties are transferred, the company will own 1688ha (17km2) where it can commence drilling to verify the find.

Campaign stalwarts made life members

IN RECOGNITION of six years of tireless campaigning to stop open-cut mining within a 100km radius of Perth, AHMAG recently made Morangup residents Hope and David Jones the organisation’s first life members.

Apart from spreading the word at local agricultural shows and swap meets, the Joneses collected petition signatures and sold plants on Sundays at the Midland Farmers’ Markets to raise funds for our group.

Their stalwart weekly attendance meant 4.30am starts in all weathers and during the Covid restrictions when larger events were cancelled their fundraising kept our group afloat.

We sincerely thank them and wish Hope and David “happy trails” as they head north for a well-earned break.

Chalice appointment

IN MID-MARCH Chalice Mining Ltd appointed Dr Soolim (Soo) Carney as General Manager Environment and Community.

Chalice hopes that Dr Carney’s appointment will “accelerate development of the globally significant Julimar Platinum Group Element (PGE)-Nickel-Copper-Cobalt-Gold discovery” in and around the Julimar State Forest.

Dr Carey will be negotiating the project’s regulatory approvals process and will oversee Chalice’s environment and community strategy.

In the past 20 years Dr Carey has worked for Alcoa, BHP and Woodside Petroleum and has been instrumental in delivering environmental approvals for several major projects in WA.

It’s far too soon to speculate on Dr Carney’s work with Chalice and what it will mean for the long-term protection of the environment, but we’ll keep readers posted.

Gravel pit update

WHEN there is money to be made and local councils such as Mundaring knock back projects such as the Swan Gravel/Trico Resources gravel pit expansion in Bailup and Satterley group’s North Stoneville housing development, that’s not the end of it.

Both Swan Gravel/Trico Resources and Satterley have taken their cases to overturn council’s decisions to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) where they remain in the mediation phase.

As they say: "It’s not over until the SAT lady sings."

Hope and Dave Jones

Hope and David Jones

‘No short cuts in exploration phase’ – Chalice

LAST month AHMAG members made a trip to the big smoke to meet Chalice Mining representatives in their West Perth office. Our initial request for Chalice’s Stage 1 Conservation Management Plan and fact sheets led to an invitation to meet with Managing Director Alex Dorsch, General Manager of Corporate Development Bruce Kendall, Communications Manager Amelia Walker and Environmental Consultant Kristy Sell.

As a mining awareness group, we are keen to establish open lines of communication with the company which is exploring one of the world’s most significant discoveries of nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group elements in the Julimar region north west of Toodyay.Retired environmental earth scientist Doug Blandford agreed to accompany us to guide us through the technical aspects of the meeting and to review the conservation management plan which the company provided.

Our past experience with Bauxite Alumina Joint Venture (BAJV) which planned open-cut bauxite mining in our area resulted in a jaundiced view of mining proponents’ claims of minimal environmental impacts. At a well-attended meeting in Morangup Hall in 2015, BAJV said the project’s water requirements for dust suppression would equate to that used to irrigate a small citrus orchard. Thankfully no such nonsense was touted at the meeting with Chalice which recognises that best practice must be applied during the exploration phase if it is to gain approval to verify promising ore bodies within the Julimar State Forest.

If granted approval to drill in the forest, Chalice proposes to use three track-mounted drill rigs which have very low ground bearing pressure and therefore will have less impact on vegetation and do not require access roads to be cut. Chalice is acutely aware that exploration of an environmentally sensitive area so close to Perth will attract close scrutiny of its operations.
    “There will be no short cuts and we intend to do it right,” Mr Dorsch said.

AHMAG left the meeting with the impression that Chalice intends to do the right thing by the environment while it is in charge of the exploration phase.
    “We hope to instil the culture of responsibility if the project is on sold,” Mr Dorsch said.

Pumped up miner to meet AHMAG

IN EARLY December 2020 Chalice Gold Mines Ltd changed its name to Chalice Minerals Ltd to reflect the discovery in the Julimar area of nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum group elements and gold.

By its own projected timeline, from discovery to ultimately mining the rare minerals, Chalice is not just on track but well ahead in terms of gaining State government approval for on-ground exploration in the Julimar State Forest.

Chalice reported to the ASX in early January that the Minister for Environment approved “initial non-ground-disturbing activities” in the forest which the company says will be governed under “the approved Stage 1 Conservation Management Plan (CPM)”.

AHMAG could not source this document and wrote to Chalice requesting a copy the day after the announcement was made.

“We welcome Chalice Mining’s assurance to consult closely with interested community groups and look forward to receiving the document,” AHMAG said.

Chalice responded and extended an invitation to AHMAG to meet company representatives at their West Perth office.

“Our intention is to establish an open line of communication with your group to ensure awareness of our activities and plans,” Chalice Communications Manager Amelia Walker said.

“Whilst it is not standard practice and not intended as a publicly available document, we can also provide a copy of the Stage 1 Management Plan at the meeting as requested,” Ms Walker said.

AHMAG members will meet with Chalice mid-month and the outcome of the meeting will be reported in the March edition of The Herald.

Gravel pit update

LAST October, Mundaring Shire Council rejected Swan Gravel/Trico Resources application to increase gravel extraction at 3650 Toodyay Road Bailup from 47,000 to 950,000 tonnes a year, and as expected the company has approached the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) to overturn the decision.

At the council meeting on January 28 Toodyay Shire Council voted unanimously to write to SAT requesting that the shire be heard and to request making a submission “in respect of the proposed intensification” of the project.

“This is requested on the basis that Shire of Toodyay constituents in the Morangup locality may potentially be adversely affected by the proposal on the natural environment, available water resources and the potential traffic impact on Toodyay Road...,” the shire said.

Gravel pit knocked back – for now

AFTER a two-year 10-month delay, Swan Gravel/Trico Resources’ application to accelerate gravel extraction from 47,000 tonnes to 950,000 tonnes a year at 3650 Toodyay Road Bailup finally came before Mundaring Shire Council on October 13.

In a surprise decision the council voted 7-3 to reject a staff recommendation to approve the expansion which would increase traffic on Toodyay Road from 20 to 132 trucks a day.

Prior to the decision to reject the application, four public deputations opposing the project were presented including one from Toodyay Shire President Rosemary Madacsi who spoke at the invitation of Mundaring Shire President John Daw.      Cr Madacsi reaffirmed Toodyay’s concerns and objections to the proposal on the following grounds: additional traffic and road safety concerns on Toodyay Road; potential amenity impacts on Morangup residents, and potential environmental impacts on the water table. In the event of shire approval, Cr Madacsi reiterated the shire’s position of January 2018 that “strenuous conditions” be imposed in relation to traffic management/limits on truck movements, hours of operation, noise control, dust management, water table protection, regular compliance inspections and requested that emphasis on the word ‘strenuous’ be magnified 20 times to reflect the change in scale since the Toodyay Shire’s submission.

Retired earth scientist Doug Blandford presented the shire with a 30-point detailed submission on the failure to address numerous environmental impacts and called on the shire to ask the applicant to present “a serious and professional management program, in terms of water management and rehabilitation procedures and protocols”.

Morangup resident John Morrell, an environmental professional specialising in the area of approvals, queried whether Federal legislation may be contravened if 100 trees - the nesting habitat of endangered Carnaby’s Cockatoos - were removed. Mr Morrell also disputed the shire staff’s finding that the gravel pit would have “no visual impact” and informed the meeting that the existing operation is already clearly visible to the 600 motorists using Dryandra Road daily.

Brett Ashlin, who lives in the ‘small white house’ which backs onto the gravel pit raised concerns about traffic impacts, noise, dust in his drinking water as well as falls in property prices.

Trico Resources representative Greg Kendall was the only member of the public to speak for the proposal which he said would enable the applicant to compete for larger contracts such as EastLink (Orange Route) and remove trucks from Mundaring town site.

Prior to the council voting to reject the application, Deputy Shire President Amy Collins raised concerns about water availability for dust suppression and the increase in truck movements. Cr Collins said that if the upper limit of gravel extraction was implemented, it would result in an extra three trucks passing through Gidgegannup every 12 minutes.

CrDarrell Jones supported the application because “all planning approvals are in place.”   “I agree that water issues and run-off are a concern, but I am very concerned we’re on thin ground here,” he said.

Whenever a development application is refused, the council must provide reasons for its decision which in this case are: environmental concerns; loss of amenity; traffic impacts and, no confirmation that the proposal will comply with all the required State regulations.

To date, there is no news on whether Swan Gravel/Trico Resources will contest the decision at the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).

Existing gravel stockpiles are clearly visible from Dryandra Road and Red Brook Circle where this picture was taken.

 

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Copper rides high on back of pandemic

COPPER is one of the resources recently discovered in the Julimar region north of Toodyay where exploration companies are rushing to gain access to their pending tenements, including one in the Julimar State Forest.

The mineral is now a far-more-valuable commodity at $8 per kilogram having surged 45 per cent since the March 12 announcement of the Covid-19 pandemic. The price rise is due in part to copper’s potential to reduce the transmission of the virus in high-traffic areas such as hospitals and schools. We’re not talking solid copper doorhandles and taps, but about coating existing objects with copper using recently developed technology. A stainless steel door handle can be coated in about five minutes at a cost of approximately $100.

A University of Southampton (UK) microbiologist has been studying copper’s antimicrobial effects for more than 20 years and found that in the case of Covid 229E, a relative of Covid-19, the virus remained infectious on stainless steel and glass for five days whereas on a copper surface it disappeared within minutes. However Covid-19 is a tougher customer and can remain active on a copper surface for hours.

For thousands of years the ancient Egyptians and Chinese have known about copper’s ‘disinfectant’ properties – long before the discovery of germs or viruses. While gold and silver also have antibacterial properties, copper’s specific atomic makeup contains a free electron which eliminates a virus more quickly.

In business circles copper is known as Dr Copper – not for its curative properties – but as an indicator of how well the economy is doing. At the moment the Australian finances are at rock bottom and the recent surge in the copper price is closely linked to the closure of copper mines in Chile and Peru where workers have been affected by the pandemic.

It’s curious that a virus can lead to a price hike of a mining commodity such as copper and AHMAG will be monitoring the progress of local tenement applications in a region which promises high yields of not just copper but also nickel and platinum group elements.

Mining is propping up a cash-strapped economy and it’s odds-on that many proposed mining projects may be fast-tracked to boost the country’s coffers.

It’s up to us all to monitor these projects to ensure that shortcuts, which could negatively impact our health and environment, aren’t taken.

AGM – memberships due

THE AVON and Hills Mining Awareness Group’s AGM will be held at 10am on Saturday September 26 in the Morangup Community Hall in Wallaby Way, Morangup.

To be eligible to vote at the AGM memberships must paid to either the postal address below or to the AHMAG account BSB 633-000, account number 152776654.

Donations are always welcome to support our group’s efforts to keep you informed about local mining proposals.

In the meantime, stay in touch at http://www.facebook.com/avonandhills or write to PO Box 111 Gidgegannup WA 6083.

 

Where will the water come from for Julimar nickel mines?

Doug Blandford*

THREE more companies, Australian Silica Quartz Group Ltd, DevEx Resources Limited which are now associated through an earn-in agreement, and Cassini Resources Limited have thrown their hats into the ring and joined the exploration bandwagon in what is now known as the Julimar Nickel Province.

Cassini Resources is also drilling for nickel copper cobalt and platinum group elements about 20km south of New Norcia, approximately 45km north of the Chalice discovery at Julimar.

Once a mineral province or complex is recognised, and multiple exploration/ mining companies are involved in its development, the potential for environmental impacts increases exponentially.

The reasons for this are many and varied, and there is also the possibility that there could be three individual nickel-sulphide mining ventures located along the Western Darling Plateau all within 100km from the Perth CBD.

Economic viability may suggest that infrastructure for transport, processing, and refining, could be shared.

It would seem logical to set up a central and major processing facility but differences in the mineralogy of each ore body will almost certainly influence this as differences in ore type and quality may require different processing systems.

But it would also seem logical for each mine site to have, at least, its own crushing and concentrator system which would then require each mine site to have the appropriate supporting infrastructure.

The characteristics of the various ore bodies, and the volumes of concentrate needing transport, will both influence the value of having a central smelter.

Such a plant will require larger and individual processing area stockpiles for ore. This then further complicates the problems of on-site roasting, such as stack emission air quality and plume dispersion dynamics.

On-site smelting also introduces the need to transport large volumes of refined ore product to the coast for shipping by either rail or road.

The reality is that there is the potential for up to three nickel-sulphide mines to be developed in the Julimar Nickel Province with each site having its own concentration and refining plants and transportation systems.

All this would occur within 100km of the Perth CBD, so let’s talk about water supply.

After air quality issues, and that includes stack emissions and fugitive dust from mining and processing operations, water supply will become a major issue for any proposed nickel-sulphide mining venture in the Perth Hills.

CSIRO data indicate that for the year 2020 the mining industry in WA will use 940 million tonnes of water. That’s a lot of water.

The need for water is a double-edged sword.

Finding it and getting access to it is one thing. Extracting it and delivering it to the mine area, without impacting the human and biological environment is another.

Water availability is also diminishing. The discharge of the Avon River at Toodyay in 2019 was approximately 44.04 billion litres which is well below the long-term median of 64.18 billion litres.

A well-established nickel mining and processing operation south-east of Wiluna uses approximately 11 million tonnes of water a year, water that is sourced mainly from three remote bore fields and pit dewatering. Down south, the Ravensthorpe laterite nickel operation pumps water from the ocean for its use.

The area of the local nickel-sulphide discoveries is in the western Yilgarn Craton which is not a groundwater area. Further, the aquifers in the Swan Coastal Plain should not be available to the mining industry because of falling water tables.

Under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act, 1914, the general area of exploration and potential mining development is within a Proclaimed Surface Water Area covering the Avon River System, and the Avon River Catchment Area.

So, where will the water come from to support a single nickel-sulphide mine located some 18km inland from the Darling Scarp? And what if there are three new nickel mining ventures?

It is reasonable to suggest that the total water requirement could be anywhere between 25 to 35 million tonnes of water per year.

* Toodyay resident Doug Blandford is a retired Environmental Earth Scientist.

 

 

 

Candidates give view on mining

LAST October AHMAG asked the nine candidates standing for election for their views on open-cut mining within a 100km radius of Perth.

This month, three candidates are running in the by election on Friday July 31 and we asked them for their views on both open-cut mining and whether exploration/mining should be allowed in State forests and reserves.

While the State government decides if mining will be permitted, the local shire council can contribute its views on whether mining should be allowed in State forests such as in Julimar.

Candidate April Ashley “opposes fracking and whatever (forms of mining) may cause water problems which could affect society in general and especially farmers and their crops”.

“As regards open-cut mining which leaves a great scar on the landscape, I oppose it when it affects a community’s health, lifestyle and heritage sites.

“I don’t believe it is necessary to obliterate forestland which houses a diverse variety of flora and fauna for the sake of financial gain for local and international companies.”

Keith Boase lived in Kalgoorlie for 16 years and has first-hand experience of living in a region impacted by mining.

“It’s highly destructive and we need to look at what we want for future generations.

“I am an environmentalist and am against mining in high-quality farming areas.

“Tourism and farming need to be sustained in Toodyay and we shouldn’t trade this for short-term gain.”

Mick McKeown says he “is not in favour of mining in national parks and nature reserves and is also not in favour of the proposed strip-mining in the Morangup area”.

“If large-scale mining is proposed in the shire, my preferences is that the Toodyay Shire Council should provide the lead by taking positive steps to negotiate with the proponents to achieve binding agreements that provide social and economic benefits to the community of Toodyay.”

AHMAG urges all electors to vote and to carefully consider which candidate will ensure that our pristine environment stays protected.

April Ashley
April Ashley
Keith Boase
Keith Boase
Mick McKeown
Mick McKeown

 

 

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