J5 and Bungalbin East Iron Ore Proposal

Mineral Resources Limited (MRL) planned to extend the life of its Carina mining hub by using it to process and load iron ore from two new iron ore mines, J5 and Bungalbin East (BE), located in the Yilgarn area of Western Australia.  In December 2017, the State Government rejected this proposal.

The Perth-based, ASX-listed company MRL is confident that its expertly developed environmental management system and practices, could have successfully balanced environmental requirements with development.

Industry-leading initiatives include MRL’s research partnership with Curtin University to better understand the biodiversity of the Helena- Aurora Ranges, together and MRL’s involvement in the $7 million Australian Research Council grant for mining rehabilitation. These initiatives will guide the development and application of mine rehabilitation programs that will be progressively implemented as mining takes place.

The Proposal would have made a strong contribution to the economy:

  • The construction phase will provide around 401 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions comprised of 98 direct FTEs and 303 indirect FTEs (Numbers modelled by engineering firm AECOM in September 2016);
  • The operations phase will provide more than 1,496 FTEs including 585 direct FTEs and about 911 indirect FTEs;
  • Fremantle Port’s biggest customer by dollar and volume with $43 million paid per annum and 79 dockside employees;
  • Continued operation of  six locomotives and 387 wagons that haul the ore to port and support staff;
  • Several hundred million dollars in Royalties to be paid to the State over the project’s life; and
  • Annually, hundreds of millions dollars pumped into the economy through wages, taxes, procurements and capital and operational investments.

The above benefits will cease should the project not proceed as MRL’s Yilgarn iron ore deposits will be mined out in 2017. 

The Mt Manning / Helena-Aurora Range area has long been recognised as a  mining area, with BHP drilling for iron ore at BE in the 1960s and 70s.  Taking account of the area’s well-known mineralisation, access for mining was re-affirmed  in 2010 by the WA Government’s  announcement that the area surrounding J5 (a granted mining lease) and BE (a pending mining lease) would be retained as a lower level, dual use mining and conservation area, rather than declaring  the area an “A- class” reserve.

Banded Iron Formation (BIF) ranges such as the Helena-Aurora Range are recognised as landscapes having significant environmental values and MRL’s proposed mining disturbance represents a very small fraction of the Helena-Aurora Ranges: 

  •  The Helena- Aurora Range is more than 99% intact with other nearby ranges similarly intact (>99%) eg Die Hardy, Dryandra, Hunt Range, Johnston Range, Lake Giles Range, and Mt Manning Range;
  •  Mining at J5 and BE will disturb less than 1.6% of the total area of landform within the Mt Manning area;
  • Most of the disturbance is sensitively planned and  occurs away from the ranges;
  • There is no evidence that any species of flora or fauna will be lost; and
  • The Proposed is consistent with WA Government Policy and Strategic Goals and promotes regional economic diversity.

MRL recognises the environmental sensitivity of the Ranges, particularly in relation to plants, and there will be no loss of endemic rare or restricted flora species.  The total area of disturbance for J5 and BE is 575 hectares. This comprises 172 hectares for mine pits, 186 hectares for waste rock dumps, 92 hectares for supporting Infrastructure and 125 hectares for haul roads.

MRL is committed to good governance and embraces the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) process.  The Proposal is being assessed by the EPA via a Public Environmental Review (PER) process, supported by detailed environmental studies. The PER was open for public comment for 8 weeks during September and October 2016. To view the PER documents, our responses to submissions, and additional information on the process please visit the EPA website here.

Read MRL's Environment and Community policy click here.

Mineral Resources Wins Prestigious Environmental Award

Mineral Resources is the winner of the prestigious 2015 AMEC Environment for its research on biodiversity modelling of Banded Ironstone Formations in the Yilgarn region, which is being undertaken in partnership with Curtin University.