Mines Minister George Cash today praised the increasing number of Western Australian mineral and petroleum companies for setting their own high standards of environmental responsibility.
Mr Cash said companies were adopting superior environmental practices that were going beyond the State’s stringent environmental laws.
Speaking at the Department of Mineral and Energy’s 1995 environmental excellence awards for the mining and petroleum industries, Mr Cash said self-imposing high environmental standards made good business sense.
“There is now a laudable trend in the industry to view environmental management positively as a creative source of new efficiencies, products and technologies,” he said.
“Only those organisations that can consistently demonstrate their environmental responsibility, through good management practices with the need to deliver a product at the lowest possible cost, will survive and prosper.”
Mr Cash said the high standard of entries in the 1995 awards demonstrated how environmental responsibility had become a priority throughout the industry and he regretted that many good nominations would not receive awards.
“However, the awards are for ‘excellence’ and not just good performance,” he said.
The 1995 winners are:
* BHP Petroleum - award for environmental excellence in the petroleum operations sector.
* Australian Resources’ Gidgee Gold Mine - award for environmental excellence in the mineral operations sector.
* Hamersley Iron - award for environmental excellence in the mineral operations sector.
* Worsley Alumina’s Boddington Gold Mine - certificate of merit for environmental excellence in the minerals operations sector.
BHP Petroleum developed a Geographical Information System (GIS) and an environmental atlas as a base for managing petroleum exploration on the North-West Shelf. The GIS and atlas will be used as a tool for environmental management of exploration activities, and for oil spill response and contingency planning.
Although there are no formal environmental policy or training programs at Australian Resources’ Gidgee Gold Mine, its high standards of operating procedures reflect a strong company commitment to protecting the environment far beyond compliance.
Hamersley Iron have undertaken extensive rehabilitation along the 386 km road and rail link between its port facility at Dampier and its Paraburdoo mine. The rehabilitation program is being performed by the company’s Aboriginal training and liaison department and includes restoration of current and historic mining activities.
Worsley Alumina have established a forest hygiene management program at the Boddington Mine to protect areas of forest not infected with diseases, such as dieback and to ensure continued access to operational areas and potential resources. The program has been developed in consultation with the Department of Conservation and Land Management.
Members of the judging panel for the 1995 awards included Professor Fay Gale, Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, Dr Brian Logan from the Environmental Protection Authority, Brendan Nicholson, environment writer for The West Australian and Ken Perry, Director General of the Department of Minerals and Energy.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595