Barnett opposes Margaret River coal project

WESTERN Australian Premier Colin Barnett is reportedly “prepared to act” to block the proposed underground coal mine near Margaret River – another big blow to the Vasse coal project and manager LD Operations.
Barnett opposes Margaret River coal project Barnett opposes Margaret River coal project Barnett opposes Margaret River coal project Barnett opposes Margaret River coal project Barnett opposes Margaret River coal project

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett

Blair Price

Barnett made his opposition known at a recent business luncheon in Perth, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The Premier also spoke about LDO’s appeal against the harsh assessment of the project made by the Environmental Protection Authority.

While he did not know how the appeal would “pan out”, he reportedly said only a powerful argument could convince him to place Margaret River’s standing at risk, based on its role in the state’s tourism industry.

Ultimately WA Environment Minister Bill Marmion has the authority to scrap the project, but the EPA’s recommended level of assessment effectively amounted to a “no to the proposal” in the words of its chairman Paul Vogel back in March.

In its appeal, LDO is arguing that the process adopted by the EPA was so “fundamentally flawed that the report cannot be relied upon”

WA’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also concerned that the EPA procedures used could set negative precedents for other resource projects in the state.

CCI chief executive James Pearson said it was focused on ensuring EPA assessments for “any and all” projects proposed in the state were conducted in a fair, transparent and consistent manner.

The EPA’s resistance to Vasse project not only followed intense community and media campaigning against the project, but also its recommendation against the development of the Coolimba coal mine in the Mid West earlier this year.

The Vasse project is about 15 kilometres from the town of Margaret River. The tenement area covers 80 hectares, including land underneath the river.

Bord and pillar mining was proposed for areas 160-500 metres underground, according to the EPA.

The draft mining plan targeted a production rate of 1.2 million tonnes per annum for a mine life of 20 years.

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

The Vasse project was being advanced by LD Operations on behalf of its private owners, AMCI (70%) and Core Coal Holdings (30%).

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