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‘No short cuts in exploration phase’ – Chalice

LAST month AHMAG members made a trip to the big smoke to meet Chalice Mining representatives in their West Perth office. Our initial request for Chalice’s Stage 1 Conservation Management Plan and fact sheets led to an invitation to meet with Managing Director Alex Dorsch, General Manager of Corporate Development Bruce Kendall, Communications Manager Amelia Walker and Environmental Consultant Kristy Sell.

As a mining awareness group, we are keen to establish open lines of communication with the company which is exploring one of the world’s most significant discoveries of nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group elements in the Julimar region north west of Toodyay.Retired environmental earth scientist Doug Blandford agreed to accompany us to guide us through the technical aspects of the meeting and to review the conservation management plan which the company provided.

Our past experience with Bauxite Alumina Joint Venture (BAJV) which planned open-cut bauxite mining in our area resulted in a jaundiced view of mining proponents’ claims of minimal environmental impacts. At a well-attended meeting in Morangup Hall in 2015, BAJV said the project’s water requirements for dust suppression would equate to that used to irrigate a small citrus orchard. Thankfully no such nonsense was touted at the meeting with Chalice which recognises that best practice must be applied during the exploration phase if it is to gain approval to verify promising ore bodies within the Julimar State Forest.

If granted approval to drill in the forest, Chalice proposes to use three track-mounted drill rigs which have very low ground bearing pressure and therefore will have less impact on vegetation and do not require access roads to be cut. Chalice is acutely aware that exploration of an environmentally sensitive area so close to Perth will attract close scrutiny of its operations.
    “There will be no short cuts and we intend to do it right,” Mr Dorsch said.

AHMAG left the meeting with the impression that Chalice intends to do the right thing by the environment while it is in charge of the exploration phase.
    “We hope to instil the culture of responsibility if the project is on sold,” Mr Dorsch said.

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