Mining giant’s long-term plan for the Pilbara approved

by WA Government News | Jul 12, 2019
  • BHP's strategic expansion proposal for the Pilbara given approval by the State Government
  • Long-term Pilbara Expansion Strategic Proposal streamlines process and provides greater certainty for the next 50-100 years
  • An Australian-first for the mining and resources industry, set to create tens of thousands of new jobs in Western Australia
  • The plan is expected to reduce future approval timeframes by up to 50 per cent 

The McGowan Government has approved a 50 to 100 year strategic mining proposal for the Pilbara by resources giant BHP, which outlines bold plans for new and existing mines, along with a vision to create tens of thousands of jobs for Western Australians.

BHP's Pilbara Expansion Strategic Proposal details a cumulative picture of the miner's planned and potential operations across the Pilbara including mining operations, rail, storage areas, dams and associated mine infrastructure.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended environmental approval of BHP's strategic proposal, with conditions.

Strategic proposals help reduce red and green tape, allowing the EPA to consider the cumulative impacts of future proposals, rather than assessing impacts on a case-by-case basis, as individual mines or developments are proposed. 

The EPA assessed the impacts to flora and vegetation, fauna, water quality and quantity, air quality as well as social surrounds.

The Ministerial Statement for BHP's strategic proposal includes conditions that may be applied to each development, including environmental management plans, a cultural heritage management plan, a mine closure plan and offsets through contributions to the Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund where significant residual impacts remain.

BHP is required to refer future individual proposals outlined in the Ministerial Statement to the EPA to determine if they meet the high environmental standards set by the strategic assessment.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"This is a major job-creating plan for Western Australia that has the potential to deliver tens of thousands of jobs for local Western Australians.

"We expect this Australian-first plan will reduce environmental approval times by up to 50 per cent, while maintaining the highest environmental standards.

"Industry has been crying out for this type of plan. It recognises the need to reduce unnecessary 'green tape' to increase investor confidence, and pave the way for more jobs.

"It is another sign our economy is improving with the major miner taking a long-term view of its proposals in the State. 

"The State Government commends BHP for taking the time to put a strategic proposal for the Pilbara together."

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:

"The Pilbara region holds immense environmental value and a key focus of the EPA assessment was to ensure the proposal did not significantly impact on important regional environmental values including Karijini National Park and Fortescue Marsh.

"The EPA gave BHP's strategic proposal careful consideration, including considering the impacts to fauna, flora, surface and ground water, air quality, landforms and social surrounds.

"Strategic proposals allow the EPA to take a bigger picture view of the potential environmental impacts the proposals may have, considering the cumulative impacts rather than on a case-by-case basis, as individual mines or developments are proposed."

Premier's office - 6552 5000

Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800

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