EPA recommends Mt Weld expansion

Overview of the Mt Weld project.
Overview of the Mt Weld project.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended environmental approval for the extension of the Mt Weld project.

The proposed expansion would increase the existing development to 2802ha, extending the life of the 16-year-old operation by up to 30 years.

EPA chair Professor Matthew Tonts says an assessment of the proposal would produce a much better outcome for the environment.

“Adopting this approach meant the EPA was able to undertake the assessment with full knowledge of the existing and proposed Mt Weld operations,” he said.

“This is one of the first projects to provide the EPA with life-of-mine insight that allows confident assessment of the combined and cumulative impacts.”

The EPA has recommended the Mt Weld life of mine proposal may be implements subject to conditions relating to native fauna habitat, rehabilitation and mine closure, and human health.

The proposed expansion includes a hybrid power station, accommodation village, extended waste rock and by-product landforms, plus additional borefield and tailings water recycling infrastructure.

Since operations began at Mt Weld in 2007, Lynas has undertaken significant research and design work on its tailings storage. This research led to the use of a technique which has resulted in a 70% improvement in water recovery, a 50% reduction in the volume of tailings requiring storage and an increase in the strength of the storage material.

The EPA’s report is now open for a three-week public appeal period, closing on November 30.