Western Australia’s environment regulator has blocked two iron ore projects from development due to concerns about their impact on rare flowers and microscopic subterranean prawns that call the deposits home.
The WA Environmental Protection Authority yesterday announced that both the J5-Bungalbin East project owned by Mineral Resources, and the Blue Hills iron ore development of China’s Sinosteel should not go ahead due to their impact on flora and fauna.
The EPA’s decision leaves the fate of the projects in the hands of WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, who will have to make a final determination.
MinRes, which is run by rich-lister Chris Ellison, had argued that J5-East Bungalbin would create hundreds of jobs and several hundred million dollars in state royalties over its life. Without the development, operations at its existing Carina iron ore hub will end later this year.
MinRes has not given up hope of salvaging the project, with the company’s external affairs general manager (and former federal resources minister) Gary Gray noting that Mr Dawson had the authority to approve the mine.