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EPA considers proposal for Hellyer Tailings Storage Facility in North West Tasmania

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Hellyer Gold Mines Pty Ltd for the construction and operation of a tailings storage facility at Hellyer Mine in Waratah Wynyard municipality.

The proposal involves the construction and operation of a new Tailings Storage Facility (TSF), to be known as TSF2, approximately 550m downstream of the existing Main Hellyer TSF dam wall. The facility is proposed to contain approximately 5 million tonnes of tailings in total and would be used to store process residue tailings produced by a previously approved tailings reprocessing activity.

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

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly management of potential acid mine drainage and the potential for downstream impacts to water quality," said Mr Jones.

“Conditions have been imposed to ensure appropriate management practices are in place during construction and operation of the TSF to reduce the risk of downstream impacts to water quality in the Que River," he said.

No representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in October 2018. Public consultation was open for 28 day period from 3 November 2018.

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, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and, in particular, to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania.

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 report, including the environmental conditions, has been have been forwarded to the Waratah Wynyard 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 http://epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments.