A proposal by the Kimberley Diamond Company to develop the Ellendale 4 diamond project has been given environmental approval by Environment Minister Judy Edwards.
However, Dr Edwards said the company would have to develop a management plan for the geological features within the mining lease, including the number of diamond-bearing ‘pipes’ and features to be protected from mining operations.
Dr Edwards said the company also would have to undertake further studies into groundwater quality so that the impacts of climate change were considered in any future management of the area after the mining ended.
Kimberley Diamond Company is proposing a deep, open cut pit and processing plant 140km east of Derby near the western boundary of the Devonian Reef Conservation Park. The site is 15km south-east of the company’s Ellendale 9 diamond minesite.
The company proposes to mine diamonds under the groundwater table. Water from the pit will have to be pumped out.
Dr Edwards said she had endorsed a series of recommendations from the Environmental Protection Authority that had reported on the proposal last June.
These recommendations included further consideration of the impacts of mining on groundwater, fauna and geological features and preparation of plans to monitor the impacts of pumping water from the pit, as well as for rehabilitation of the site after mining ends.
Appeals on the EPA’s recommendations were received from Environs Kimberley and the Conservation Council of Western Australia.
Key issues in the appeals included protection of unique landforms, the impact on subterranean fauna (stygofauna), land clearing, weeds management and greenhouse gas emissions.
Dr Edwards said the Appeals Convenor had met representatives of Environs Kimberley and the company on site to discuss the community organisation’s concerns.
“These discussions were useful in ensuring that the issues raised in the appeals were considered,” she said.
“The company has undertaken an appropriate level of consultation with a wide range of stakeholders in relation to the environmental factors surrounding the proposal and has provided several opportunities for stakeholders to make submissions and raise their concerns.”
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