Sinosteel’s Weld Range iron ore scheme clears environmental hurdle in Western Australia

Sinosteel’s proposed Weld Range iron ore project in the mid-west region of Western Australia has been conditionally approved by Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

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In a statement, published on Monday June 18, EPA chairman Paul Vogel said a diverse set of conditions, including offsets, had allowed the EPA’s environmental objectives to be met.

The project proposal from Sinosteel Midwest, the Australian subsidiary of Sinosteel, includes a development of two pits and associated infrastructure at Weld Range, with a projected production capacity of 15 million tonnes of iron ore per annum.

As the project site is just 100km west of the proposed Square Kilometre Array radio astronomy project, the EPA expects Sinosteel to consult with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation during the development of the proposal, Vogel added.

The EPA’s report is now open to a two-week public appeal period closing July 2, 2012. The minister for environment will then make the final decision.

Sinosteel mothballed the project in June 2011, blaming rising costs and delays to the Oakajee port and rail development.