Mulga Rock gets the nod

THE Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia has recommended the approval of Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock project, two weeks after vetoing another proposed uranium mine.
Mulga Rock gets the nod Mulga Rock gets the nod Mulga Rock gets the nod Mulga Rock gets the nod Mulga Rock gets the nod

Vimy's Mulga Rock project.

Kristie Batten

The proposal was tested against six key environmental factors, including potential impacts to flora and vegetation, terrestrial fauna, human health, and inland waters environmental quality, and included site visits and public submissions.

“Each proposal scrutinised by the EPA is done so on a case-by-case basis and in this instance, the EPA has recommended the Mulga Rock uranium project be approved subject to a suite of stringent conditions,” EPA chairman Dr Tom Hatton said.

Among the 14 conditions recommended, the EPA specified environmental management plans were prepared to ensure impacts to conservation significant flora, vegetation and terrestrial fauna were minimised.

Vimy will also be required to prepare an Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan to ensure impacts to registered and unregistered sites were minimised as well as plans to monitor and manage the quality of soil and groundwater.

Vimy managing director Mike Young said the recommendation was a fantastic outcome and the company saw no reason why the state and federal governments wouldn’t agree with the EPA’s assessment.

“This is a project which results in no significant residual impacts to the environment,” he said.

“We set out how we would manage the project to achieve that outcome and now we have a positive recommendation with conditions that require us to do what we said we would do – and of course we will exceed those expectations.”

Mulga Rock, 240km east-northeast of Kalgoorlie, has a 16-year life, in which it will produce up to 1360 tonnes per annum of uranium oxide.

“We can see the end of the approvals process and more importantly, offtake partners and financiers with whom we are engaged can see it as well,” Young said.

“This de-risks perceptions and is a very significant step towards achieving the conditions required for the final investment decision.”

Mulga Rock has pre-production capital costs of nearly $US290 million.

The EPA’s report is now open for a two-week public appeal period before Environment Minister Albert Jacob makes a final decision.

The proposal will also require federal government approval.

Earlier this month, the EPA knocked back a proposal from Cameco over the Yeelirrie uranium project.

Shares in Vimy were unchanged at A32c.