Green tactics outrage mines minister

WESTERN Australian Mines Minister Norman Moore is on the warpath after accusing Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren of misrepresenting his views on possible coal mining in the Margaret River region.
Green tactics outrage mines minister Green tactics outrage mines minister Green tactics outrage mines minister Green tactics outrage mines minister Green tactics outrage mines minister

Norman Moore

Blair Price

During debate over the future direction of WA tourism in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, MacLaren raised her objections to the proposed Vasse underground coal project and how that could affect tourism at Margaret River.

Moore’s response became the subject of a MacLaren press release the next day.

Moore apparently “intimated” that Margaret River vineyard owners were “hypocrites” for wanting to stop coal mining in the area when most of the wineries came from mining proceeds in the first place, according to the release.

“Mr Moore's tirade against Margaret River makes me very concerned about the future of the region,” MacLaren said.

“The government evidently thinks that coal mining, vineyards and tourism are a good mix."

In his own issued response, Moore said MacLaren had blatantly misrepresented his comments.

“It is also mischievous for Ms MacLaren to infer that I suggested tourism and coal mining were a good mix,” the statement said.

“Although I mentioned the indisputable fact that both wine production and coal mining occurs in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, I also said I did not know if they co-existed well.

“The point I was making in the debate – a point Ms MacLaren has conveniently overlooked in her misleading and mendacious press release – was the state government will not arbitrarily remove the rights of any sector of the community, including those of mining companies to legally propose development plans.”

Moore said that many companies involved in the mining industry had invested a lot of their profits in other enterprises in the Margaret River area, including vineyards such as Leeuwin Estate, Saracen and Vasse Felix, and hotels such as Bunker Bay Resort.

“What exists in the current situation in relation to the coal mining issue is a company that holds mining leases which, under the letter of the law, is allowed to put forward a proposal to mine coal,” he said.

“Until such time as that particular submission has been received, the government is not in a position to make a judgement as to whether it should proceed or not.

“Such a submission, if it is received, will undergo an extremely rigorous approvals process and there is no guarantee the company would ever succeed in proceeding to developing a working mine.”

Contractor LD Operations is managing the Vasse coal project near Margaret River on behalf of its private owners, AMCI (70%) and Core Resources (30%).

Celebrity chef of Consuming Passions fame, Ian Parmenter is leading the residents’ activist group against the project, NO COAL!tion Margaret River.

Parmenter said the proposed site of the project was less than 2 kilometres from the river.

Bunbury-based Strategen Environmental Consultants has been commissioned to assist with the environmental assessment process for the project.

LDO expects about 225 operational jobs to be created from the underground thermal coal mine.

The draft underground mining plan is looking at a target production rate of 1.2 million tonnes per annum for a mine life of 20 years.

The Vasse project conservatively has resources of at least 116Mt, according to data provided by Intierra.

Though LDO is yet to submit any paperwork to the state government for the project, there are fears such a mining operation could threaten endangered hairy marron in the area.

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