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

Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day 2017

The sun was shining, kids were laughing, adults were chatting, food and coffee vans were humming and the Small Farm Field Day was alive with activity.

The Honourable Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Minister for Regional Development: Agriculture and Food was in attendance to officially open the day’s events and AHMAG were lucky enough to have a quick chat with her and newly elected MLA Jessica Shaw about Yankuang Bauxite Resources proposed plans to mine here in the Darling Range.
 
Minister MacTiernan said that before the field day she had no previous knowledge of Yankuangs proposals, but showed concern over the possibility of losing tens of thousands of acres of productive farmland to strip mining.
 
Given the Minister had only just learnt about the proposals, she made the reasonable comment that she would need to speak with Yankuang to get their take on their plans before she could have an opinion one way or another, so watch this space.

With such great weather and such a well-planned and executed event, AHMAG were inundated with support from concerned people eager to sign our latest petition to stop “Bulk Commodity” mining from occurring within 100 km of Perth’s CBD.

We would like to thank The Experience Gidgegannup Committee for organizing such a fantastic event and a special thank you to Jennifer Kent and Sally Block for always making us feel so welcome every year.

AHMAG

Attention - EPA Referral Process

This is the EPA referral process that we must all be aware of.

The following link will take you to a 7 day window that has been opened for comment by the EPA, in relation to a referred proposal from South 32 (Worsley Alumina) to increase alumina production, by increasing their Hotham mining footprint in the Darling Scarp.

Example of How The Referral Process Works

Whether you agree with this proposed expansion or not, it is a perfect example of how the referral process works and is exactly what we can expect when Yankuang refer the Fortuna and Felicitas resources to the EPA for consideration.

7 Day Window

The EPA has opened a 7 day window for comment, please open and read the attached link as it is exactly the type of Notice that will be released by the EPA on their website when Yankuang refer their proposals for mining to the EPA here in Morangup, Wundowie and Wooroloo.

We will only be given seven days and 500 words (Approximately A4 size) to state why we want their proposed plans to go to a full Public Environmental Review (PER). For example: Dust issues, Light pollution, Noise, Water, Destruction of farmland, Environment concerns, property value losses, etc, etc, etc. This list just goes on and on.

What You Will See on The EPA Link

Why We Are Consulting. At this initial stage of the EIA process, comment is simply sought on whether or not the EPA should assess a proposal and, if so, what level of assessment is considered appropriate.

  • Do not assess
  • Assess - Referral information
  • Assess - Environmental review - no public review
  • Assess - Public environmental review......When Yankuang refer their proposals to the EPA, we all need to choose Assess - Public environmental review.

Why We Need a Full PER

This is vitally important, because without a PER the proposal will merely go through the process and no further input will be allowed by the PUBLIC, which of course is us. A full PER can take many months to complete which enables much more scrutiny from the Public.

Please click on the link below and prepare yourselves for the future EPA referral by Yankuang Bauxite Resources to mine the Felicitas and Fortuna resources.

If you disagree with the current proposal by South 32, then you may also wish to call for this proposal to be assessed at a full PER level as a trial run, but that is up to you. The window opened on the 22nd of May, so you are running out of time.

AHMAG

EPA Hotham Mining Extension Consultation

Wundowie Iron Festival

AHMAG would like to take this opportunity to invite our followers to the Wundowie Iron Festival this Sunday the 21st of May 2017.

The iron festival is a great day out for the whole family and a short 65 km drive up the Great Eastern highway from Perth. Gates open at 9 am until 4 pm.
We will have our marquee set up collecting signatures to our latest petition. So if you come along, don’t forget to drop in to say hello and sign our petition to show your support against bauxite mining in Wundowie, Wooroloo and Morangup.

The industrial history of Wundowie was born on April 15, 1948, when the completed Wundowie Charcoal Iron and Steel mill was opened. The mill was closed in 1981 after 33 years of operation and Bradken now operate out of the foundry facilities, keeping the link to Wundowie’s commercial heritage alive.

Wundowie was the birthplace of WA’s iron ore industry. To find out more about the Iron Festival, click here.

We hope to see you on Sunday.

AHMAG

Wundowie Iron Festival

Neighbours From Hell

Guess who's co-sponsoring the Toodyay Agricultural show again this year?

Yes you guessed right, it's the People's Republic of China, complete with the Yancoal logo imbedded in the outline of WA.

Although they did not attend last year’s show, their money was there. Yankuang have recently said that they hope to have a mine up and running within the next 3 - 5 years and their continued sponsorship of a show that they do not attend seems to confirm their intensions.

Make no mistate about it, if you live in Morangup, the Mauravillo or Dale View estates in Wundowie, or the outskirts of Wooroloo, then at some point in the future Yankuang have plans to be your nieghbours.

AHMAG

One Billion Tonnes of Bauxite

One billion tonnes of bauxite stripped out of our Darling Range over the past 63 years.

It was reported in the Mandurah Mail on the 5th of February 2016 that Alcoa were celebrating a huge milestone of mining "One Billion Tonnes" of bauxite in Western Australia since the company began mining in 1953. This story is now over 15 months old which means you can probably add another 40 million tonnes or more to that tally. 

While this may have been great news for Alcoa's bottom line and for those who rely on mining for a living, it has had a devastating effect on our Jarrah forests along the Darling Range.

With advancement in mining equipment and ongoing demand for bauxite, production rates have increased dramatically over the past 60 years, so you can guarantee the next billion tonnes will not take anywhere near as long.

The article goes on to mention Alcoa's internationally recognized land rehabilitation program. This is supposed to negate concern for our Jarrah forests and canopy floor species, with the planting of small seedlings to replace mature trees, but the Google Earth time lapse maps provided by David Osborne in our last 2 post merely shows a Darling Range that is under enormous stress.

We have often said that if a large corporation begins bauxite strip mining here in Morangup, Wundowie and Wooroloo, then they would remain in the area long after the estimated 25 years and the initial 275,000,000 tonnes that has been spruked by Yankuang, as the Darling Range is full of bauxite just in varying grades.

What would our area look like in 60 years if Yankuang ever get approval to mine here???

AHMAG

Article in the Mandurah Mail

 

Our Jarrah Forrests Are Being Destroyed And Our Farmland Is Next

In our last post David Osborne shared a time lapse map from 1987 to 2017 of one of the World’s largest operating bauxite mine, Alcoa's Huntley mine near Dwellingup / Pinjarra.

The Huntley mine extracts more than 25 million tonnes of bauxite annually to feed the Kwinana and Pinjarra refineries and as reported previously that number is set to soar due to new export agreements signed with the Barnett government and Alcoa.

David has now shared a time lapse map of the same period 1987 to 2017 of Alcoa's Willowdale mine near Waroona, which feeds the Wagerup refinery. The refinery looks down over the ruins of the once thriving hamlet of Yarloop which was raised to the ground by a catastrophic fire in 2016.

The town was already a shadow of its former glory with the towns social fabric destroyed when Alcoa bought back many of the homes because of health concerns due to the refinery being an unwelcome nieghbour to many.

The Willowdale mine extracts some 10 million plus tonnes of bauxite each year, which is roughly the same amount expected to be mined at the proposed Felicitas and Fortuna mines here in Morangup, Wundowie and Wooroloo.

Chinese state owned Yankuang bauxite resources (YBR) have identified an initial 275 million tonnes of bauxite, which is of no surprise given the Darling Range is recognized as a bauxite rich location where varying grades are found.

Exploration by Yankuang and BRL is set to continue with BRL being granted another 2 tenements in the past 8 months, which will ultimately see the 62 km2 area increase in much the same way as seen in the time laps images provided by David, as more and more resource is identified in this section of bauxite rich Darling Range.

The destruction proposed for our area may not impact on the jarrah forest, but it will destroy tens of thousands of acres of productive farmland, native vegetation and bush, in what is known as an incredibly reliable rain fall area.

Roger Underwood made the statement that ‘The alumina industry is destroying the jarrah forest – and nobody seems to care. At least, nobody is complaining about it”

When Yankuang decide that the time is right to continue with proposals to progress with their mine plans, will we all sit back and just watch the destruction creep across another area of the Range destroying everything in its path?

The time lapse maps of the Huntley and Willowdale mine are just a sample of the destruction that is occuring to theJarrah Forests as we have not even touched on South 32 (Formally BHP) Worsley's operation.

Once again, if you care about what you have read, then please share this post with your family and friends.

Click here to view time-lapse maps of the Willowdale mine near Waroona

Thanks again to David Osborne creator of WalkGPS.

AHMAG

Devastation beyond belief

AHMAG have recently conversed with David Osborne the creator of the WalkGPS website. David knows the North Darling Range and its associated walk trails like the back of his hand and he has shared some alarming information about bauxite mining being conducted by Alcoa and BHP (Now South32).

David has recently re-launched “WalkGPS: Bushwalks in the Perth region, Western Australia” and AHMAG were fortunate enough to have been included in the email list for the launch and the May newsletter, which outlines the issues that are being faced by bush walkers and the impacts that bauxite mining is having on the walk trails along the Darling Range and the destruction of the Jarrah Forrest that inhabit the area.

According to David's information there is 400 square kilometers currently being strip mined for bauxite and some 3000 hectares of Jarrah Forrest is being cleared every year.

The shared post below is one of many links contained in that newsletter which takes you to the WalkGPS website, but this one relates to bauxite mining in the Darling Range.

Time lapse pic from 1987 – 2017

When you click and open the post below there is a time lapse pic of mining in the Darling Range starting at 1987 and goes through to 2016. If you click on the pic and wait a few seconds, you will be horrified as to the extent of the devastation caused by bauxite mining and it is set to accelerate.

Separate to their current and existing operations at the Huntley and Willowdale mines, 2016 saw the unprecedented decision by the Barnett government to grant approval for Alcoa to direct ship bauxite to Chinese refineries. This means the North Darling Scarp will literally be stripped bare.

This type of destruction is a small taste of what we will be faced with if Yankuang ever get approvals to mine here. Farmland, native vegetation, bush land and the neighbouring communities will all be affected.

In other posts we have stated that bauxite mining will creep across the landscape like a cancer. They say a picture paints a thousand words, well the time lapse pics paint a million words and these pics are only of Alcoa's Huntley mine.

If the 1987 - 2016 time lapse pics don’t horrify you, then one can only cringe at the thought of what the next round of pics will look like.

If you care about what you have read, then please share this post with your family and friends.

We would like to thank David Osborne for sharing years of pics and research with our group.

AHMAG

Article on Walk GPS

Uplifting Video

The following video is an uplifting storey about Wendy Bowman who is an 83 year old grass roots campaigner and activist  who stood firm against Chinese State owned mining giants Yancoal (Owned by Yankuang Group) and won.

We can all learn from this amazing lady, the only way to win is to never give up.

Take note of how many views the video has had.

AHMAG

Article and video on The Guardian Australia

Breaking News on Yankuang Facebook Page

Chinese owned Yankuang Bauxite Resources (YBR) breaks silence on proposed mines.

After a year of being in an information vacuum created by the termination of BAJV and exactly one day after it was mentioned in an article in the Toodyay Herald that no new information had been released, Yankuang updated their contact details on the Yankuang Facebook page. This led to a couple of questions being asked on their page with the one below being the most relevent to us:

Question: Do you have any idea when the mining will start again?

Yankuang's answer:

The project is basically on hold until the bauxite price recovers; then a period of 2 to 3 years will be required for environmental and mining approvals to be granted, so mining will not begin for at least three years and probably longer.

The departure of BAJV and BRL from the local landscape had many believing that they had gone for good and that mining around the Mauravillo Estate, Morangup and Woorolloo was nothing more than an exaggerated rumor.

However the recent release of the Wundowie Community Plan (see this post) and more importantly Local Recources Item 3.3. within that plan, has now been followed by a Yankuang Facebook post which leaves no doubt at all, that a full blown mining onslaught will come from the Chinese Government as soon as commodity prices improve.

 

The Cost of mine dust

An article published in the West Australian estimates that mine dust has cost Port Headland $300 million in lost opportunities and 280 jobs per year and that dust was linked to the loss of tourism and property values depreciating.

The Dust Costs Report also found businesses spent around $1 million, and residents $1.3 million each year, on cleaning and replacing infrastructure due to dust pollution.

Nobody is suggesting that dust from future bauxite mining in Morangup, (Toodyay shire) Wooroloo, (Mundaring shire) and Wundowie (Northam shire) will have quite the same impact, but it WILL have an effect.

The question was once asked how far does the dust blow. The answer to that was, how far does the wind blow?

AHMAG

Article on News.com.au

Wundowie Community Plan (Bauxite mining)

The Shire of Northam has released the Wundowie Community Plan (WCP) which is intended as a guide for the future planning and growth of the hamlet from 2016 to 2026.

It was interesting to read the document but the sections that stood out to us were item 2.3 THE ECONOMY and sub - section 2.3.1 Agriculture, where it is recognized in the plan that Agriculture has been a major industry sector for the shire which has been declining in recent decades and under increasing threat from climate change, global conversion of food crops to fuel crops and the INCREASING DEMAND FOR RURAL LIVING LOTS.

With other threats from increasing soil salinity, surface and sub – surface soils acidification, erosion, water logging and soil compaction.

Item 3. DRIVERS OF GROWTH and subsection 3.3 Natural Recourses, talks about a SUBSTANTIAL BAUXITE RESOURCE that has been identified to the north of Wundowie with development currently deferred due to soft commodity prices.

It is confusing that the shire identifies a decline in Agriculture and a demand for rural living lots, yet approves the Mauravillo Estate subdivision on a magnificent farm smack bang in the middle of the very resource that they have identified in item 3.3 of the WCP.

Strip mining on productive farmland in good reliable rain fall areas such as those in and around Wundowie and surrounding areas should not be allowed as the farmland will not recover. The land should remain as farmland and be protected at all costs as going forward food production will be the biggest resource on the planet.

Those who have bought in the Mauravillo Estate now own property in arguably one of the best subdivisions that has come onto the market in recent years, but if the WCP is correct, when commodity prices improve Yankuang bauxite resources WILL want to move in next door.

Click here full version of the Wundowie Community Plan (PDF 2.3 MB).

AHMAG

Shire Double Dips on Rates

I read with interest that on the 16th of January 2017 the Toodyay shire refunded $3253.34 to Yamkuang Resources for lot E70/03730 Tenement Rd which was noted in Item 9.4.1 under List of payments presented to Council for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 January 2017 and found on page 144.

After a little investigation it appears that Yamkuang is actually Yankuang Resources and tenement Rd is not an address but an expired tenement previously held by the Chinese bauxite miner.

For those of you who are not familiar with the way tenements are viewed by local governments, tenements are seen as ownership of the land that they encompass and therefore mining companies are sent rates notices and pay rates on them accordingly.

The owner of the land itself also pays rates and therefore local governments are basically double dipping. While this is completely legal, it is little wonder that local shires welcome tenements and mining companies with open arms.

It is an income stream that does not require any extra services which continues until such time that - as in this case - the tenement expires and is viewed as a dead tenement, or it is surrendered.

Once a mining tenement is converted to a mining lease or license, then the shire will continue to collect rates for the life of the operation. I have not yet been able to find out if the amount of rates payable increases when mining begins and ore worth millions of dollars is extracted, but I will endevour to find out.

Brian Dale
AHMAG

Chinese Miners Will Return

It's now just over a year since would-be bauxite miners Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures (BAJV) left town, closing the door on its shire-owned rental premises next to the Toodyay and Districts Bendigo Community Bank.

The departure followed a dispute between the joint-venture partners Yankuang Resources and Bauxite Resources Limited to conduct a bankable feasibility study to build an alumina refinery for which sites along the east-west rail network somewhere near Northam were being considered.

Since the termination of BAJV and the 100 per cent takeover by the new Chinese state-owned Yankuang Bauxite Resources – with the exception of sponsorship of last year’s Toodyay Agricultural show – there has been an information vacuum in relation to the Felicitas and Fortuna resources located near Morangup, Wundowie (Mauravillo Estate), Woorolloo and other tenements now owned by Yankuang.

Yankuang exploration manager Bruce Groenewald (who has a Yancoal email address) has previously stated that once economic conditions improve in China, they will re-emerge and double up on their efforts to move to a full-blown mining proposal. This is backed up by the ongoing sponsorship of our local agricultural show.

In time Yankuang’s true intensions and time frames will become clear, but while Yankuang or any other mining company hold and maintain live tenements for future bauxite mining, our local communities will remain under threat and therefore the Avon and Hills mining Awareness Group Inc will remain active.

You can help support AHMAG by purchasing our rain chart and pen packages for $7 or you can buy the great metal pen for $5 or a rain chart for $2. For more information on how you can obtain a package simply email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Brian Dale on 0418 898 788

To see what the pen and chart look like, simply view our previous post.

AHMAG

Rain charts and pens

Can we interest any of our followers in a rain chart and an engraved metal pen for $7. A pen by itself for $5. Or maybe a rain chart by itself for $2

Given the amount of unseasonal rain that we seem to be getting they will come in handy earlier than expected.

If you live in Morangup please, contact David and Hope on 9572 9072 to organize pick-up or delivery.

If you live in or around Gidgegannup, please contact Ieva on 9574 7166 to organize pick-up or delivery.

If you live outside the area, please call Brian on 0418 898 788

AHMAG

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