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EPA considers proposal for open cut tin mine in Zeehan

16 June 2017

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed open cut tin mine and processing plant by Ten Star Mining Pty Ltd off Heemskirk Rd, Zeehan in the West Coast municipality.

The proposal involves the expansion of an existing open cut mine to extract up to 40,000 tonnes per annum of tin-bearing ore for processing into a tin concentrate. The mine and processing plant are located about 20km northeast of Zeehan off Heemskirk Rd. The proposal includes the development of a new tailings storage facility for the deposit and long term storage of up to 40,000 tonnes of tails material.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Warren Jones, said the Board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The EPA requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the West Coast Council.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly water quality impacts, waste rock management and mine closure and rehabilitation,” said Mr Jones.

“Conditions have been imposed to ensure waste rock, which may cause acid and metalliferous drainage, is appropriately segregated, stored and treated to limit water quality impacts during mining operations.

“At mine closure, Ten Star Mining will be required to return potentially acid forming waste rock to the open cut pit, and provide an appropriate cover to ensure long term saturation and stability of the material,” he said.

“Conditions have also been imposed to ensure tailings from processing of ore are deposited in a new tailings storage facility, which will be appropriately rehabilitated to avoid long term impacts to the environment,” Mr Jones said.

No representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in February 2017. Public consultation was open for a 28-day period commencing 22 February 2017.

The proposal was considered by the Board in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).

The functions of the Board are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, and in particular to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania, and to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives.

The Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the Act.

The Board’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to the West Coast Council, for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.

The decision by the EPA Board can be viewed on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments