The environmental assessment process for the proposed Fingerboards Mineral Sands project at Glenaladale has commenced, following the decision by the Minister for Planning to require an Environment Effects Statement (EES).
The preparation of an Environment Effects Statement will be undertaken by the proponent, Kalbar Resources and overseen by the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP).
DELWP has formed a Technical Reference Group to advise Kalbar Resources and the department on the scope and adequacy of investigations. The company has appointed technical consultants to undertake detailed studies for the project.
Kalbar Resources proposes to extract mineral sands at the project site, but is first required to undertake a full EES, prior to the Minister for Planning issuing an Assessment of the project and its effects. The Minister’s Assessment informs government approval decisions for the project.
Kalbar Resources Managing Director, Neil O’Loughlin, said: “The Glenaladale mineral sands deposit has been recognised as one of the most valuable ore bodies of its type in the world and it has the potential to generate substantial investment and employment in the region”.
Mineral sands have many applications in technology and manufactured goods, including communications, transport, energy and domestic goods. The mining method involves the return of approximately 96 per cent of the mined material to the mine void and the progressive reinstatement of the site as mining continues.
Scoping requirements for the EES are set by the Minister for Planning, leading to studies that examine the potential environmental, social and economic impacts and inform design and mitigation responses.
The first step in the process is to establish draft scoping requirements for the EES, which will be advertised for public comment shortly.
The Technical Reference Group, comprising representatives of State and local government agencies, recently held its first meeting and undertook a visit to the site.
Mr O’Loughlin said “Comprehensive studies are required to determine the potential impacts of the project and identify options for avoiding or minimising any adverse effects”.
“Kalbar Resources is committed to ensuring that all potential issues are thoroughly investigated and that the relevant government agencies and community members are involved in all key stages of the assessment process”, Mr O’Loughlin said.
A community consultation plan is also required for the EES and this will also be made publicly available.
“We are interested to hear from all community stakeholders as to how they would like to obtain information about the project and what information they require, so that community views are considered and included in the assessment process”, Mr O’Loughlin said.
“As the technical studies progress, we will be looking to conduct a range of consultation activities that enable interested parties to provide informal feedback, in addition to the formal public consultation requirements that we must meet”, he added.
The EES process is expected to take up to 18 months. If approved, Kalbar plans to commence the project in 2019.