Opposition to bauxite mine grows

Mr Chapple, the WA Greens mines and petroleum spokesman, handed over to Parliament a long list of residents� concerns about the potential health and environmental impacts.

�Bauxite mining on the Darling Scarp will permanently alter the landscape and the lifestyle for the people who live there,� Mr Chapple said.

�Leases for this invasive process � open- cast mining involves clearing all vegetation and topsoil, sometimes to depths of 20m � lie over tens of square kilometres of fertile farmland and pristine bushland, home to the threatened Carnaby�s black cockatoo.

�Underneath this area lie millions of litres of precious groundwater, which could be drawn on for mining purposes; groundwater that is essential for farming and residential usage.

�I applaud the Avon Valley and Perth Hills community for their advocacy for the protection of this beautiful, and incredibly important, region and I will continue to support their cause in Parliament.�

Mr Chapple said Colin Barnett owned a property in the region and he hoped the WA Premier would relate to residents� fears over mining close to home.

Campaigners from The Avon and Hills Mining Awareness Group (AHMAG) have formed alliances with other groups since hearing of the mining proposal late last year.

They say the Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures (BAJV) is a 70 per cent Chinese enterprise, owned by one of the largest coalmine operators in China. AHMAG president and Morangup resident Brian Dale said together with its 30 per cent-owned joint venture partner, Bauxite Resources Ltd, the company planned to conduct large-scale, open-cut bauxite mining at multiple locations throughout the Darling Scarp.

�The plan includes sizeable mine sites in the shires of Mundaring, Toodyay and Northam,� Mr Dale said.

He said a mine site would replace rural views from his 40ha hobby farm in Jingaling Brook Road, where he has lived for the past 12 years.

Anti-mine campaigners also say the Chinese enterprise Alpha Bauxite is reconsidering its options in Chittering.

�The proposed mine sites in the Perth Hills are near the pristine Avon River, Cobblers Pool and the Avon Valley National Park, alongside Morangup where there is a population of 900 residents,� Mr Dale said.

�If these mines are approved, Wooroloo and Wundowie are also included in the initial 62-square kilometres footprint and the size of the mine can become much bigger as has already happened across extensive areas of the Darling Scarp from Pinjarra, Boddington to Bunbury.�There are mining exploration tenements, mainly for bauxite and gold, across the Darling Scarp, extending through the Shires of Mundaring, Toodyay, Northam, Chittering and beyond.

Mr Dale said about 70 per cent of the proposed Felicitas and Fortuna mine area was located on productive farmland.

�These plans also include the possible construction of a bauxite refinery, which will bring with it another environmental nightmare and will require large resources of water,� he said.

AHMAG�s raft of concerns include health risks from bauxite dust, soil erosion, salinity, groundwater disruption, water shortages and, due to the lack of scheme water, contamination to harvested rain water.

Mr Dale said in the coming months the proposal would move towards referral for approval by the Environmental Protection Agency.

AHMAG has linked up with Residents for Responsible Mining in Bindoon and the Community Alliance for Positive Solutions in Yarloop.

BAJV general manager Bill Moss has stated a commitment to uphold environmental and social values.

He said the company supported the establishment of a bauxite mining community awareness group and a dedicated shopfront in Toodyay.


RESPONDING to the petition, Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures general manager Bill Moss said he had been encouraged by the positive feedback �from the community over the last 12 months or so�.

�The majority of people we have engaged with have been supportive of our plans for a well-designed project and the benefits it can bring in local jobs, opportunities for local businesses and boosting the local economy,� he said.

�We will continue to engage with the community to ensure concerns are heard and addressed during this early stage of the project�s development.

�Like any project, we will be subject to a comprehensive assessment by the WA Environmental Protection Authority as part of the State�s approval process before mining can occur.�