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Don’t forget to read : "In the Press" for all current and past bauxite articles covered by the Toodyay Herald!!!

Devastation beyond belief

AHMAG have recently conversed with David Osborne the creator of the WalkGPS website. David knows the North Darling Range and its associated walk trails like the back of his hand and he has shared some alarming information about bauxite mining being conducted by Alcoa and BHP (Now South32).

David has recently re-launched “WalkGPS: Bushwalks in the Perth region, Western Australia” and AHMAG were fortunate enough to have been included in the email list for the launch and the May newsletter, which outlines the issues that are being faced by bush walkers and the impacts that bauxite mining is having on the walk trails along the Darling Range and the destruction of the Jarrah Forrest that inhabit the area.

According to David's information there is 400 square kilometers currently being strip mined for bauxite and some 3000 hectares of Jarrah Forrest is being cleared every year.

The shared post below is one of many links contained in that newsletter which takes you to the WalkGPS website, but this one relates to bauxite mining in the Darling Range.

Time lapse pic from 1987 – 2017

When you click and open the post below there is a time lapse pic of mining in the Darling Range starting at 1987 and goes through to 2016. If you click on the pic and wait a few seconds, you will be horrified as to the extent of the devastation caused by bauxite mining and it is set to accelerate.

Separate to their current and existing operations at the Huntley and Willowdale mines, 2016 saw the unprecedented decision by the Barnett government to grant approval for Alcoa to direct ship bauxite to Chinese refineries. This means the North Darling Scarp will literally be stripped bare.

This type of destruction is a small taste of what we will be faced with if Yankuang ever get approvals to mine here. Farmland, native vegetation, bush land and the neighbouring communities will all be affected.

In other posts we have stated that bauxite mining will creep across the landscape like a cancer. They say a picture paints a thousand words, well the time lapse pics paint a million words and these pics are only of Alcoa's Huntley mine.

If the 1987 - 2016 time lapse pics don’t horrify you, then one can only cringe at the thought of what the next round of pics will look like.

If you care about what you have read, then please share this post with your family and friends.

We would like to thank David Osborne for sharing years of pics and research with our group.


Article on Walk GPS

Uplifting Video

The following video is an uplifting storey about Wendy Bowman who is an 83 year old grass roots campaigner and activist  who stood firm against Chinese State owned mining giants Yancoal (Owned by Yankuang Group) and won.

We can all learn from this amazing lady, the only way to win is to never give up.

Take note of how many views the video has had.


Article and video on The Guardian Australia

Breaking News on Yankuang Facebook Page

Chinese owned Yankuang Bauxite Resources (YBR) breaks silence on proposed mines.

After a year of being in an information vacuum created by the termination of BAJV and exactly one day after it was mentioned in an article in the Toodyay Herald that no new information had been released, Yankuang updated their contact details on the Yankuang Facebook page. This led to a couple of questions being asked on their page with the one below being the most relevent to us:

Question: Do you have any idea when the mining will start again?

Yankuang's answer:

The project is basically on hold until the bauxite price recovers; then a period of 2 to 3 years will be required for environmental and mining approvals to be granted, so mining will not begin for at least three years and probably longer.

The departure of BAJV and BRL from the local landscape had many believing that they had gone for good and that mining around the Mauravillo Estate, Morangup and Woorolloo was nothing more than an exaggerated rumor.

However the recent release of the Wundowie Community Plan (see this post) and more importantly Local Recources Item 3.3. within that plan, has now been followed by a Yankuang Facebook post which leaves no doubt at all, that a full blown mining onslaught will come from the Chinese Government as soon as commodity prices improve.


The Cost of mine dust

An article published in the West Australian estimates that mine dust has cost Port Headland $300 million in lost opportunities and 280 jobs per year and that dust was linked to the loss of tourism and property values depreciating.

The Dust Costs Report also found businesses spent around $1 million, and residents $1.3 million each year, on cleaning and replacing infrastructure due to dust pollution.

Nobody is suggesting that dust from future bauxite mining in Morangup, (Toodyay shire) Wooroloo, (Mundaring shire) and Wundowie (Northam shire) will have quite the same impact, but it WILL have an effect.

The question was once asked how far does the dust blow. The answer to that was, how far does the wind blow?


Article on

Wundowie Community Plan (Bauxite mining)

The Shire of Northam has released the Wundowie Community Plan (WCP) which is intended as a guide for the future planning and growth of the hamlet from 2016 to 2026.

It was interesting to read the document but the sections that stood out to us were item 2.3 THE ECONOMY and sub - section 2.3.1 Agriculture, where it is recognized in the plan that Agriculture has been a major industry sector for the shire which has been declining in recent decades and under increasing threat from climate change, global conversion of food crops to fuel crops and the INCREASING DEMAND FOR RURAL LIVING LOTS.

With other threats from increasing soil salinity, surface and sub – surface soils acidification, erosion, water logging and soil compaction.

Item 3. DRIVERS OF GROWTH and subsection 3.3 Natural Recourses, talks about a SUBSTANTIAL BAUXITE RESOURCE that has been identified to the north of Wundowie with development currently deferred due to soft commodity prices.

It is confusing that the shire identifies a decline in Agriculture and a demand for rural living lots, yet approves the Mauravillo Estate subdivision on a magnificent farm smack bang in the middle of the very resource that they have identified in item 3.3 of the WCP.

Strip mining on productive farmland in good reliable rain fall areas such as those in and around Wundowie and surrounding areas should not be allowed as the farmland will not recover. The land should remain as farmland and be protected at all costs as going forward food production will be the biggest resource on the planet.

Those who have bought in the Mauravillo Estate now own property in arguably one of the best subdivisions that has come onto the market in recent years, but if the WCP is correct, when commodity prices improve Yankuang bauxite resources WILL want to move in next door.

Click here full version of the Wundowie Community Plan (PDF 2.3 MB).


Shire Double Dips on Rates

I read with interest that on the 16th of January 2017 the Toodyay shire refunded $3253.34 to Yamkuang Resources for lot E70/03730 Tenement Rd which was noted in Item 9.4.1 under List of payments presented to Council for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 January 2017 and found on page 144.

After a little investigation it appears that Yamkuang is actually Yankuang Resources and tenement Rd is not an address but an expired tenement previously held by the Chinese bauxite miner.

For those of you who are not familiar with the way tenements are viewed by local governments, tenements are seen as ownership of the land that they encompass and therefore mining companies are sent rates notices and pay rates on them accordingly.

The owner of the land itself also pays rates and therefore local governments are basically double dipping. While this is completely legal, it is little wonder that local shires welcome tenements and mining companies with open arms.

It is an income stream that does not require any extra services which continues until such time that - as in this case - the tenement expires and is viewed as a dead tenement, or it is surrendered.

Once a mining tenement is converted to a mining lease or license, then the shire will continue to collect rates for the life of the operation. I have not yet been able to find out if the amount of rates payable increases when mining begins and ore worth millions of dollars is extracted, but I will endevour to find out.

Brian Dale

Chinese Miners Will Return

It's now just over a year since would-be bauxite miners Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures (BAJV) left town, closing the door on its shire-owned rental premises next to the Toodyay and Districts Bendigo Community Bank.

The departure followed a dispute between the joint-venture partners Yankuang Resources and Bauxite Resources Limited to conduct a bankable feasibility study to build an alumina refinery for which sites along the east-west rail network somewhere near Northam were being considered.

Since the termination of BAJV and the 100 per cent takeover by the new Chinese state-owned Yankuang Bauxite Resources – with the exception of sponsorship of last year’s Toodyay Agricultural show – there has been an information vacuum in relation to the Felicitas and Fortuna resources located near Morangup, Wundowie (Mauravillo Estate), Woorolloo and other tenements now owned by Yankuang.

Yankuang exploration manager Bruce Groenewald (who has a Yancoal email address) has previously stated that once economic conditions improve in China, they will re-emerge and double up on their efforts to move to a full-blown mining proposal. This is backed up by the ongoing sponsorship of our local agricultural show.

In time Yankuang’s true intensions and time frames will become clear, but while Yankuang or any other mining company hold and maintain live tenements for future bauxite mining, our local communities will remain under threat and therefore the Avon and Hills mining Awareness Group Inc will remain active.

You can help support AHMAG by purchasing our rain chart and pen packages for $7 or you can buy the great metal pen for $5 or a rain chart for $2. For more information on how you can obtain a package simply email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Brian Dale on 0418 898 788

To see what the pen and chart look like, simply view our previous post.


Rain charts and pens

Can we interest any of our followers in a rain chart and an engraved metal pen for $7. A pen by itself for $5. Or maybe a rain chart by itself for $2

Given the amount of unseasonal rain that we seem to be getting they will come in handy earlier than expected.

If you live in Morangup please, contact David and Hope on 9572 9072 to organize pick-up or delivery.

If you live in or around Gidgegannup, please contact Ieva on 9574 7166 to organize pick-up or delivery.

If you live outside the area, please call Brian on 0418 898 788


Globally 2016 Was The Hottest Year on Record

Last October the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) announced it was performing a bush-clearing audit and now ABC National radio has just run a science segment by Bill Bunbury which likens WA’s South West to a canary in the coal mine for climate change.

Mr Bunbury talks to environmental scientists, hydrologists, foresters and farmers about the effects land clearing has had on rain fall in the South West and how trees and vegetation attract rain and reduce temperatures while clearing not only has the opposite effect but also causes more frequent frosts.

It is estimated that about 70 percent of the Felicitas and Fortuna bauxite resource areas which cover some 62 km2 are located on parkland-cleared farming land with at least 30 per cent remnant vegetation and bush land. The remaining trees in these areas should be protected at all costs, not only from an agricultural point of view but an environmental one as well.

The Toodyay Shire and the State Government should be doing all that they can to ensure everything that can be done is being done to combat climate change and protect hills and agricultural areas from strip mining, which destroys everything in its path.

They should be encouraging, supporting and attracting other forms of investment to our region other than strip mining.

Food production will continue to be the largest resource on the planet long after mining has ceased and less rainfall, hotter summers and more-frequent frosts could one day render this country useless.

We invite everyone to listen to the 54-minute science segment by Bill Bunbury in the link below. The issues that AHMAG have been concerned about and continue to raise are real issues that are backed up by science and the evidence should not be ignored.


Article on ABC News: WA's South West 'canary in coalmine' for Climate Change

Audio link to Bill Bunbury's report: Effects of changing climate in SW Australia

Article on ABC News: 2016 Hottest Year on Record

EPA calls for a clearing audit

Monday the 24th of October 2016 saw an article written by Daniel Mercer in the West Australian where he states that the environmental watchdog has raised concerns over the amount of bush being bulldozed across the state and apparently the EPA have called for an audit to ensure sites are protected.

It has been estimated that from 2001 to 2009 almost 7,000 ha was cleared which is an area twice the size of Kings Park every year. The article goes on to say that the EPA are particularly concerned about the cumulative impact in Perth, Peel, Wheat belt and Pilbara regions and that in some urban areas the temperatures could be up to 15C hotter than surrounding natural landscapes.

Mining seems to be all but exempt from clearing regulations provided that rehabilitation follows mining. Both the Felicitas and Fortuna resources have many thousands of acres of bushland that will be destroyed by mining and the effects of clearing may not be felt straight away, but over the 25 plus years that has been suggested for the life of the mines,  our local weather is almost certain to change because of it.

I am always amazed at how the EPA and different forms of development work together to supposedly produce the best outcomes for all concerned, but the environment is always the biggest looser with humans running a close second.

You can read the full article below


Article in The West Australian

Wide Open Agriculture

In March 2016 AHMAG reported on a new start up business called Wide Open Agriculture. This company had grandiose plans to set up huge shade houses down south near Arthur River where they would grow tomatoes, capsicums and other market garden crops in an area that is traditionally known for cereal crops.

The ABC have once again spoken to company Director Ben Cole who’s vision is starting to come to fruition thanks to an imported Canadian greenhouse and their computerized technology which has enabled them to set up a working pilot program.

Mr Cole hopes to employ locals and long term to provide food to some 20,000 people in wheatbelt WA with future expansion throughout the wheatbelt region.
This type of investment is low impact and sustainable, would employ locals, can co-exist with tourism and will not harm Toodyay's reputation as a pristine historical tidy town.

The Toodyay shire should be canvasing for these types of ventures rather than holding out hope that proposed bauxite mining will save our town.


Article on ABC News

Tourism / mining

It is ironic that some local governments and members of council seem to forget the importance of tourism when mining companies come to town, waving the carrot of increased revenue to council coffers.

If nurtured and promoted correctly, tourism will grow over time and the benefits can be great and sustainable. On the other hand mining around tidy historical towns can kill the tourism sector and towns can lose their historical lustre.

The article below shows that the tourism sector is grossly over looked.


Article on ABC News

Alcoa Successfully Begin Exporting Bauxite From Huntley Mine Near Pinjarra

When BAJV and BRL were pushing hard to mine here in our back yard, it did not seem to matter who we spoke to in the industry about the possibility of the Felicitas and Fortuna resource's becoming mining operations, as they all seemed to have the same opinion, and that was, Darling Range bauxite is classed as being low grade ore having only 27 - 31% Al203 content and therefore the only way to make money out of mining it was to refine it locally and to export the alumina.

This is the business model that Alcoa has used for decades at the Kwinana, Pinjarra and Wagerup refineries.
Alcoa have been working very hard to change all of that. It seems that they have struck a deal with a Chinese company to supply an initial 400,000 tonnes of DSO (Direct shipping ore) to China and our state government has agreed to allow them to export 2.5 million tonnes of DSO p/a.

What this means is that if Alcoa can get a profitable DSO operation up and running, then any other mining company who is also granted approval to mine here in the Darling Scarp can do the same.

This now places an even greater risk to our communities, and while there are LIVE tenements here owned by BRL, Yankuang or any other company, then all communities close to the Felicitas and Fortuna resource areas in the shires of Toodyay, Northam and Mundaring will remain under enormous threat of future mining.


Article in The West Australian

Merry Christmas

AHMAG would like to wish everyone a Happy and Safe Christmas and New Year.

A big thankyou to everyone who has shown their support during 2016, either by way of your donations, your time, or merely liking, commenting, or sharing our page and posts with your family and friends.

We are not sure what Yankuang and BRL will have in store for us in 2017, but whatever it is, they can be sure we will continue to fight against any plans they may have to open cut mine bauxite close to our hills communities.

"Together We Will Be Heard"


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