EPA considers proposal for the expansion of Centre Pit, Savage River

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Grange Resources (Tasmania) Pty Ltd for the expansion of Centre Pit at Savage River Mine in Wararah Wynyard municipality.

Grange Resources propose to recommence mining in Centre Pit North and Centre Pit South, and merge them into one combined pit, referred to as Centre Pit. The pit design involves a cut back to the pit walls and extending the pit depth, with an excavation of approximately 31Mt of ore and 255Mt of waste, of which 106Mt is classified as Potentially Acid Forming (PAF).

Mining will be undertaken in three stages over 13 years, and initially involves the dewatering of Centre Pit South, which contains approximately 2.7GL of water. The pit water will be discharged to Savage River via South Lens water body, an historical flooded pit which is currently used to help treat mine water on site.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Mr Paul, said that the Board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. These conditions are included in an Environment Protection Notice served by the EPA to Grange Resources.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly the potential impact to Savage River from the dewatering of Centre Pit South," said Mr Paul.

“The Board has determined the proposal is unlikely to result in environmental nuisance or harm, and has imposed a framework to ensure this expectation is achieved," he said.

“This includes ongoing monitoring and the implementation of an adaptive management program requiring reduced dewatering rates should various water quality triggers be exceeded," Mr Paul said.

The proposal was referred to the Board in December 2019. No representations were received in relation to the proposal during the period of public consultation, which was open for 28 days from 16 January 2021.

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 issued to Grange Resources (Tasmania) Pty Ltd.

The decision by the EPA Board in relation to Grange R​esources (Tasmania) Pty Ltd, Centre Pit Expansion, Savage River​ can be viewed on this website.

Published on: 3/06/2021