Mine for Darling Scarp put on hold


Anti-bauxite mine campaigners David and Hope Jones, Ieva Tomson and Diana and Brian Dale with mascot Brandy in front of the now vacant BAJV office in Toodyay which is up for lease. Picture: Peter Harms
Anti-bauxite mine campaigners David and Hope Jones, Ieva Tomson and Diana and Brian Dale with mascot Brandy in front of the now vacant BAJV office in Toodyay which is up for lease. Picture: Peter Harms

News of the deferment followed the recent decision by Subiaco-based Bauxite Resources Ltd (BRL) to sell its interests in tenements to Chinese-owned Yankuang Resources.

The new entity, Yankuang Bauxite Resources, is now the sole owner after the termination of the Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures (BAJV) earlier this month.

The BAJV shop front in Toodyay has closed and the Bauxite Mining Community Advisory Group disbanded.

The Gazette understands BAJV office workers were laid off, including external public relations manager Chantelle O’Sullivan.

On Wednesday, the website of the joint venture remained live, along with a statement about the mining prospect providing 120 full-time jobs “for the local community”.

BAJV chief executive officer Bill Moss said his involvement with the project would not be long-term.

“It’s still a good resource, but the current economic climate isn’t suited to carrying the project forward… the same issues are faced by a lot of other junior mining companies,” he said.

Exploration manager Bruce Groenewald has worked on the project for the past three years and is the new contact for future developments.

He said the mining operation would continue when the financial considerations were resolved.

“It will be no different to what it was before,” he said.

He said the new entity would retain the resumes of jobseekers who had expressed an interest in working on the project.

“There is no reason for any big change and I don’t see hundreds of Chinese workers with 457 visas arriving in Perth,” he said.

“We have a lot of people with really good experience around the area and we want to employ local people.”

Avon and Hills Mining Awareness Group (AHMAG) chairman Brian Dale said while the imminent threat of mining the Scarp was on hold, the group would be ready for the next battle.

“While live tenements exist, the Chinese Government will be back; it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when,” he said.

Following the BRL selloff, the Felicitas resource in Wundowie, Wooroloo and Morangup effectively became the property of the Chinese Government.

“The Fortuna resource (Wundowie/Morangup) is now also owned 100 per cent by the Chinese Government, along with all live and pending tenements in this region previously owned by BAJV and BRL,” Mr Dale said.

The State Government last year received Avon and Hills Mining Group petitions signed by more than 4500 people concerned about the potential impact of mining on public health and the environment.

“AHMAG is not trying to stop extractive industries that we all need for roads, building and construction, as these are quarry industries that leave a small footprint,” Mr Dale said.

“But we will continue the fight to protect the Darling Range where agricultural land, shallow waterways and the environment would suffer the effects of strip mining over an area of some 62 sq km.”

Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures statement:

“Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures Pty Ltd has changed to Yankuang Bauxite Resources Pty Ltd, effective 1 February 2016.

“Given the current economic climate, we will be focusing on the activities required to maintain the tenements in good standing.

“Further development work on the Felicitas and Fortuna projects will be deferred until economic conditions improve.

“This means that activities and meetings for the projects and the bauxite mining community advisory group will cease.”