WA Environment Minister Bill Marmion will ultimately decide whether the 2-2.5 million tonnes per annum coal mine will go ahead, but the EPA recommended against the development on Monday.
The authority feared the mine would cause an unacceptable direct loss of a rare flora species and could drawdown too much groundwater from the Lake Logue Nature Reserve to the northern and western side of the proposed site.
The 450 megawatt coal-fired power station and the 360Mw natural gas-fired power plant of the Coolimba project had already been approved and Aviva could appeal a possible ministerial rejection of the associated coal mine development.
“Aviva Corporation is considering its options in consultation with its stakeholders,” a spokesperson told ILN.
But the WA government is advancing its own plans to extend the grid to the emerging mining region.
Western Power’s Mid West Energy project was recently approved to build a 330 kilovolts double-circuit transmission line from Neerabup to Three Springs.
Magnetite producers are expected to become some of the largest loads connected to the grid.
Geraldton Iron Ore Alliance chairman and Asia Iron Holdings managing director Bill Mackenzie said the powerline was essential on many fronts and allowed generators to come on stream north of Perth.
But with natural gas prices on the rise in WA, a coal-fired source of power could provide additional benefits.
“Certainly it would be nice to have a diversity of fuel types and geographic location of WA’s generators, for everybody, not just the magnetite industry but the whole state,” he told ILN.
Aviva subsidiary Central West Coal was proposing to mine 75Mt of sub-bituminous grade coal over 1700 hectares to feed the associated power station for 30 years.