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Massive gravel pit gets green light

SIX YEARS ago, when AHMAG began raising awareness about proposed open-cut bauxite mining in our area, extractive industries such as gravel, clay, granite and sand quarrying were not on our radar.

In the past, extractive industry sites were relatively small-scale projects sourcing local products for the domestic market with low-level truck movements and generally minor environmental impacts.

The recent approval of Trico Resources massive gravel pit at 3650 Toodyay Road Bailup and a pending application to increase clay extraction at Lot M1919 Salt Valley Road Hoddys Well signals the shift from small quarrying enterprises to large-scale projects resembling mining.

Last October Mundaring Shire Council refused Trico’s bid to increase gravel extraction from 47,000 to 950,000 tonnes a year and, as expected, the company appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).

The council sought further investigation of the impacts on water resources, dust management, increased traffic movements and loss of community amenity, and after months of mediation at SAT voted to approve Trico’s application on April 13.

The approval was granted subject to 28 conditions but the increase in truck movements from 20 to 132 a day had already been approved by the WA Planning Commission and could not be factored into the SAT discussions.

Before the gravel trucks start rolling six days a week from 7am to 5pm, Trico will have to make major upgrades to the pit’s entry and exit points and seal a 100m access road to the site.

If approved by the Toodyay Shire Council, the Capitary No. 3 Pty Ltd’s (Midland Brick) application to increase clay extraction from three pits in Hoddys Well to 100,000 tonnes a year will result in a 20m deep pit at the end of the 10-year project and add further truck movements to Toodyay Road.

Depending on demand, Midland Brick’s Clay Extraction Management Plan states that five to 10 trucks per hour will be required over 90 days throughout the year.

If approval is granted, the clay trucks will operate from 7am to 5pm on weekdays excluding public holidays.

Main Roads WA has identified Toodyay Road as a “strategic transport corridor” and in last month’s Herald defended the clearing of 55ha of native vegetation during the roadworks on the grounds of “safety for road users”.

Slowly but surely the natural environment is coming under threat from mining proposals and ramped-up extractive industries and locals should be concerned not only for their safety on Toodyay Road but for what we are losing for future generations.

If you care about any of these issues please step up and become a member. It’s only $10 a year.

Chalice buys more land

ON April 19 Chalice Mining Ltd announced it was in the process of acquiring four more private properties south of the Julimar State Forest where it has discovered significant deposits of nickel, copper, gold and platinum group elements.

Chalice is offering $11.25 million in cash and just over one million ordinary company shares to secure the blocks which cover 723ha.

Once these properties are transferred, the company will own 1688ha (17km2) where it can commence drilling to verify the find.

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