• Rare flower kills hope of $115m gold mine expansion plan
Rare flower kills hope of $115m gold mine expansion plan
16 May, 2019, No Comment

Summary: Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has rejected Ramelius Resources’ expansion of a Wheatbelt gold mine worth an estimated $115 million and providing 100 jobs to protect a rare native plant.....

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On Monday, Mr Dawson dismissed Ramelius’ appeal against a Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety decision to reject a clearing permit at Edna May mine near Westonia.


The Greenfinch pit has been stuck in development hell because of the threat it poses to the surrounding woodlands and the plant eremophila resinosa.


Ramelius said DMIRS failed to acknowledge the steps it was taking to mitigate and offset its impact, but WA’s environmental appeals convenor Emma Gaunt found the decision to refuse the permit was justified.


Mr Dawson’s determination means the company will not be able to restore the nearly 100 jobs it claims were shed when its main deposit wound down last year.


Operations are headed underground, but bigger scale mining is required to keep the Edna May drive-in, drive-out camp full.


Mr Dawson urged Ramelius to submit a new application it has proposed that cuts the development envelope from 48.8ha to 26.3ha.



“I am aware that, through the appeals process, the proponent proposed a much smaller scope for their clearing application,” he said. “To ensure good environmental outcomes, as well as to support local enterprise, a new application could be considered efficiently.”


Greenfinch contains a gold reserve of 62,000oz. That is worth a tick over $115 million at yesterday’s Australian dollar gold price of about $1868 per ounce.


Ramelius is expected to apply for a new clearing permit with a reduced development envelope, but managing director Mark Zeptner said it could be up to six months before the fate of the expansion plans was known.


Mr Zeptner said navigating the long approvals process had been frustrating.


“You do need to mine the mine, and avoiding everything at some point doesn’t work,” he said.


“But I still can’t walk away from the fact there’s $100 million worth of gold there and 100 jobs on standby as we go through this process.”


Westonia chief executive Jamie Criddle said the town, which has about 150 residents, had been “treading water” since the operations were scaled back.


 

Josh Chiat, 14/5/2019, thewest.com.au/business/mining/rare-flower-kills-hope-of-ramelius-resources-115m-edna-may-gold-mine-expansion-plan-ng-b881199644z

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