ANGRY residents say a sand mine being developed in state forest will “destroy” the area and the “lifestyle” they moved to Mariginiup for.
Plans for the mine, on Crown land near Silver and Bustard roads, include extracting up to one million tonnes of sand annually and about 150 truck movements per day, six days a week.
Developed and managed by Urban Resources, the mine was approved in August 2017 by the State Government, with work expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018.
Although initial plans for the mine were made about four years ago, local residents said the first they heard of it was in a letter dated January 11 about traffic management.
The letter, sent by a contractor on behalf of Urban Resources, sought community consultation around truck access to Neaves Road and the mine site via Meadowlands Drive and Silver Road.
Sue Myc, who lives on Via Vista Drive off Meadowlands Drive, said residents didn’t get the letter until January 16 and were angry they were given limited time to respond with their concerns around safety, increased traffic and environmental issues.
“This operation is on our doorstep, the sand mine will come within 300metres of Conductor Retreat, not 1500m as the letter suggests,” she said.
“It can’t be good for the environment, especially the threatened black cockatoo population or the very important groundwater that we’re sitting on.
“We have no idea about the depth they want to mine or the actual vehicle movements but from an Urban Resources Proposal document it looks like between 150 to 275 truck movements per day, six days a week for the next 24 years.
“We don’t want more trucks on our roads; Neaves Road is already dangerous as it is.”
Natalie Duffy, who has lived in the area for 41 years, said the mine would “destroy” the area and the “lifestyle” the community moved to the area for.
“We live here for the land and the quiet lifestyle which this sand mine will destroy,” she said.
“It’s a peaceful residential area where our kids can ride bikes and horses safely, and the trucks and the sand mine will ruin that.”
Urban Resources Director Stephen Elliott said road access had not been finalised although an application was sent to the City of Wanneroo in December to gain access to Neaves Road via Meadowlands Drive.
Mr Elliot said Council requested the letter be sent to residents and that responses were being collated, with many residents expressing concern about the proposal which allowed mining of up to one million tonnes of sand per annum.
“This would be very dependent on market demand and competition so could be much less than this annually but would not be exceeded without approval,” he said.
“In the event the maximum tonnages were being achieved this would relate to approximately 140-150 loaded truck movements per day.
“The mine operation was estimated to be around 20 years but this would be dependent on demand.
“We would like to achieve an outcome that minimises any impact on the residents in the area but still allows a valuable sand resource to be extracted.”
According to the Department of Mines Industry Regulations and Safety (DMIRS), Urban Resources met with the City of Wanneroo in December 2014 to discuss traffic management, land use and related issues around the mine plan and closure plan.
City of Wanneroo Director of Planning and Sustainability Mark Dickson said the land was under the control of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and was reserved for Parks and Recreation and State Forest under the Metropolitan Region Scheme and the City’s District Planning Scheme No. 2 (DPS 2).
“The use and development of land in these reserves is exempt from the need to obtain planning approval from the City, indeed DPS 2 has no jurisdiction over the site in question,” he said.
“On this basis, the City’s ability to influence or alter the proposal is limited.”
DMIRS Acting Executive Director Resource and Environmental Compliance Karen Caple said throughout the life of the mine, Urban Resources would consult with the City of Wanneroo, City of Swan, and DBCA, local residents and other government agencies.
“There are rehabilitation objectives and management plans in place to ensure the state forest is rehabilitated to the agreed standard,” she said.
Ms Caple said Urban Resources had proposed a residential buffer on the northern tenement boundary as a management strategy for noise and dust, with a 300m distance between existing dwellings and screening in place that “should offer sufficient buffers to not adversely impact” nearby residents.
The Mining Proposal limited excavation depth to three metres above groundwater levels and a groundwater assessment has been provided for the project with mining activities conforming to Department of Water and Environmental Regulation standards.
Urban Resources’ first annual environmental report is due in July 2018.