Friday 20th Sep, 2019

BHP proposal approval lays out 100-year plan for the Pilbara

Photo: Downer EDI

Western Australia’s McGowan Government has approved mining giant BHP’s plans for expansion in the Pilbara region, which includes plans for the company’s freight rail operations.

BHP’s plan lays out a strategic mining proposal for the next 50 to 100 years in the region, including mining, rail, storage, dams and associated infrastructure, with a plan to halve future approval timeframes. 

BHP is a freight operator on the Mt Newman and Goldsworthy railways, which run from the town of Port Hedland in the northern Pilbara.

The WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has also recommended BHP’s plan, subject to certain conditions. Particularly crucial to the EPA’s assessment was that BHP’s plan not significantly impact important regions such as Karijini National Park and Fortescue Marsh.

“The EPA gave BHP’s strategic proposal careful consideration, including considering the impacts to fauna, flora, surface and groundwater, air quality, landforms and social surrounds,” said WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson. 

“Strategic proposals allow the EPA to take a bigger picture view of the potential environmental impacts the proposals may have, considering the cumulative impacts rather than on a case-by-case basis, as individual mines or developments are proposed.”

The WA Government added that the proposal would help to reduce red tape and green tape, allowing the EPA to assess the cumulative effect of future proposals rather than on a case-by-case basis.

“Industry has been crying out for this type of plan. It recognises the need to reduce unnecessary ‘green tape’ to increase investor confidence, and pave the way for more jobs,” said WA Premier Mark McGowan.

“It is another sign our economy is improving with the major miner taking a long-term view of its proposals in the State. 

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