PERTH (miningweekly.com) − The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has made recommendations to the Environmental Minister not to approve a 75-million ton a year coal project, to feed ASX-listed Aviva Corporation’s Coolimba power project.
EPA chairperson Paul Vogel said on Wednesday that the proposal by Central West Coal did not meet the EPA’s environmental objectives for establishing a mine to supply subbituminous grade coal to the power station.
Aviva owns the information and development approvals for Coolimba, which is a proposed 400 MW coal and 360 MW gas-fired base-load power station in the Mid West region. The power project itself has previously secured EPA approval.
Fuel for the Coolimba power project would be sourced from the Central West coal deposit, 15 km south of Eneabba. The coal deposit would likely provide a secure, long-term fuel supply for power generation and is the key to unlocking the potential of the Mid West region.
However, Vogel said on Wednesday that with the clearing of 861 ha of native vegetation adjacent to the South Eneabba Nature Reserve there was a high risk of unacceptable impacts on critically endangered vegetation, Carnaby’s cockatoo and the migratory Rainbow bee-eater.
He noted that dewatering for the proposal was also likely to have adverse impacts on the Lake Logue Nature Reserve.
“The Lake Logue Nature Reserve is an important and recognised conservation asset supporting significant flora, fauna and wetland values. The South Eneabba Nature Reserve, the Lake Logue Nature Reserve and the conservation significant flora within this region are important environmental assets which should be protected.”
Vogel said that the EPA would take a conservative approach to the assessment of any proposals in this area, particularly cumulative impacts and risks posed by proposals to the long-term viability of conservation significant species.
As the EPA has made recommendations against the development of the Central West coal deposit, it has not included any recommendations. Vogel noted that should the Minister, after considering appeals, make a decision to allow the proposed mine to be developed, the EPA would recommend that the Minister consult with the body regarding the conditions and procedures to which the proposal should be subject.
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