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

Yankuang Builds on Exploration Block by Block

NEXT year in early April, part of Yankuang Bauxite Resources Pty Ltd’s exploration licence for its Wundowie/Bailup resource area expires.

But that’s not the end of it, as Yankuang can continue to apply for two-year extensions into the future as long as it meets Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety rules on expenditure and compensation to landowners such as Peter Cook who owns most of the land under exploration.

Using the department’s schedule of fees and charges for exploration tenements, Yankuang has to spend approximately $500,000 over 11 years to satisfy the expenditure conditions to maintain its licences at Morangup and Wundowie/Bailup.

The company has not only met the minimum expenditure requirement but has reportedly spent even more to explore the 62km2 bauxite resource.

Mining companies don’t talk in hectares or square kilometres, they talk in ‘minutes’.

Based on longitude and latitude, their tenements are divided into regular units of land called ‘graticular sections’ or ‘blocks’.

Depending on the latitude, a block equates to approximately 2.8km2 to 3.3km2, which gives Yankuang 21 blocks in the 62km2 Morangup-Wundowie/Bailup exploration area.

During the exploration phase before a mining licence is granted, the mining proponent can extract or disturb up to 1000 tonnes of material from the ground, including overburden, and can seek ministerial approval to approve extraction of larger tonnages.

There is no limit to the number of exploration licences an individual or company can hold but there is a limit on the number of blocks that can be included in one licence.

An exploration licence is limited to a maximum of 70 blocks in a ‘known mineralisation zone’ such as the Avon Valley.

As long as the blocks have at least one side in common with another in the group, it means that approximately 210km2 can be explored under one licence.

Since the original 62km2 exploration area was licensed in 2007, Yankuang has added four more adjoining exploration areas in 2011 and 2012 as well as another, as yet unconnected, site.

Even if we double the minimum expenditure commitments for the original Morangup-Wundowie/Bailup exploration area, this averages out to only $91,000 a year – peanuts for a Chinese state-owned company such as Yankuang.

Annual General Meeting

Who will clean up mining mess?

IN LATE March, a two-year Senate inquiry into the rehabilitation of mining and resource projects failed to reach an agreement and it is unknown whether the Federal Government, which is not obliged to respond, will act on any of the inquiry’s recommendations.

In WA there are more than 10,000 abandoned mine sites which ceased operating due to falling commodity prices, spiralling costs, changes in government policy or overt regulatory breaches.

The 200-page Senate report said “Abandoned mines occur when mining leases or titles no longer exist, and responsibility for rehabilitation cannot be allocated to an individual, company or organisation responsible for the original mining activities.

“Because of this, responsibility for any remedial works that are required to rectify environmental problems on these sites generally falls to government and, ultimately, Australian taxpayers.”

In other words, companies can exploit legal loopholes to avoid their environmental obligations and we are left to deal with the mess.

One tactic is to place mines into an indefinite period of ‘care and maintenance’ during which no rehabilitation occurs on the site which has effectively ceased operating.

Another, is larger resource companies on-selling their stake to a smaller company which cannot feasibly undertake the rehabilitation obligation the original company signed on for.

During the Senate inquiry’s visit to WA in March 2018 it was revealed that companies don’t have to disclose mine closure/rehabilitation costs and that by going into liquidation they can walk away without meeting their environmental obligations.

A Mining Rehabilitation Fund of industry contributions was set up in 2012 to rehabilitate sites of companies that have gone broke, and more than a few have, but the legislation to update mine site rehabilitation obligations has not been updated.

The inquiry heard from The Environmental Defenders Office of Australia which determined that incomplete or inadequate mine site rehabilitation can lead to serious long-term environmental and social costs.

Given that the taxpayer has footed the bill for the two-year inquiry which visited six states and looked at numerous mine sites, AHMAG hopes that the government will follow up on the recommendations which will prevent mining companies from leaving future generations with a huge environmental and financial debt.

Congratulations to the Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day organisers for another top event and thanks to all who signed our petition to stop open-cut mining within a 100km radius of Perth.

Keep in touch at or write to PO Box 111 Gidgegannup WA 6083.


Submission Update
STILL no news of when Mundaring Shire Council will discuss the Swan Gravel/Trico Resources application to extract gravel at Lot 3560 Toodyay Road Bailup.

New miner predicts imminent bauxite boom

THE HILLS are alive – with live mineral exploration tenements.

   They straddle national parks, nature reserves, State forests, productive agricultural land and private properties.

   There are a number of companies paying big dollars to maintain their exploration registrations on land they intend to mine for various minerals including bauxite throughout the Avon Valley and vanadium between Wundowie and Bakers Hill.

   Lithium Australia’s pending application to mine lithium is in an area already pegged for bauxite mining north of Wundowie, while north east of Bejoording and to the east of Toodyay from Bolgart to Calingiri, Northam Iron Pty Ltd has its sights set on mining more iron ore.

   Northam Iron Pty Ltd already has live exploration tenements east of Nunile, from Bejoording to near Southern Brook, which they hope to convert to mining tenements.

   By far the biggest local bauxite mining proponent is Yankuang Bauxite Resources Ltd which has located 265 million tonnes in our area.

   The company recently relinquished a tiny parcel of its holdings but maintains the vast majority as live exploration tenements throughout the Avon Valley.

   Some new players have entered the mining arena; Chalice Gold Mines,which has pending tenements for nickel, copper, platinum and vanadium in a 156km2 area including the Julimar State Forest, and Pacific Bauxite Ltd, which holds pending live exploration tenementsover a 405km2area60km north east of Perth.

   In its annual report to shareholders in June 2018, Pacific Bauxite Ltd reported:

   “The immediate future for bauxite mining remains promising.

   “A boom period is considered imminent, driven by demand from China where a substantial fall in domestic reserves and production will require a corresponding increase in bauxite reports.”

   The company believes that “existing bauxite supplies together with planned developments are expected to satisfy global demands until approximately 2020.

   “Beyond this point in time, new projects will be required to meet forecast demand, with a supply deficit of more than 25 million tonnes by 2025 and over 50 million tonnes by 2030.”

   Residents who have been breathing a sigh of relief that Yankuang have packed up and gone home to China should think again.

   To see who has pending and live exploration tenements in your area, there is an easily accessible website that showswho is doing what and where.

   Visit LandTracker Maps, register, and you have free access to monitor what is happening in your own backyard.

   If Pacific Bauxite Ltd is correct in predicting an imminent boom in bauxite mining, AHMAG needs your help more than ever.

   To become an AHMAG member ($10 a year) or help with any of our activities, visit or write to PO Box 111, Gidgegannup WA 6083.

Green groups baulk at tackling bauxite

A TRIED and true political tactic to slip a controversial decision under the door is to announce it when the press is preoccupied with bigger news such as the coming Federal election.

   While Premier Mark McGowan was going down a treat in Toodyay last month where he presented a $1.79 million sports precinct grant, he incurred the wrath of environmental groups who are incensed that on March 29 he quietly renewed WA’s 20-year bilateral Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) with the Liberal Government.

   WA Forest Alliance Group convenor Jess Beckerling said it was “a dodgy agreement which provides the logging industry with a special free pass from Federal environment laws (which) have been rushed through in the dying days of the Morrison government to avoid scrutiny and lock in protection for the logging industry”.

   “Five unique forest-dependent birds and mammals have become endangered or critically endangered since the RFA was signed (in 1999) and 195,000ha of forests have been intensively logged without Federal oversight,” Ms Beckerling said.

   While AHMAG backs conservation groups such as the WA Forest Alliance and Conservation Council’s campaign to protect old-growth and high conservation value forests, it remains concerned that the rampant destruction of the south west jarrah forest by bauxite mining goes unchallenged by the government or peak body environmental groups.

   Retired forestry worker Karl Kelers wrote to The West Australian on March 14 that the real enemy of the jarrah forest is bauxite mining, which has been operating since the 1970s.

   “Logged areas regenerate because the basic ecology of the jarrah forest has not been destroyed,” said Mr Kelers.

   “The removal of alumina ore changes the ecology forever.

   “Yes, mine sites are rehabilitated but often with other species. Rehabilitated areas will never be a jarrah forest.

   “By all means protect the forest. But let us look at the real threat.”

   Three days after Mr Kelers’ letter was published, Frank Batini echoed Mr Kelers’ opinion in The West.

   “I am amazed that individuals and conservation groups who vociferously oppose timber harvesting and prescribed burning are so silent when it comes to the 25,000ha of jarrah forest that have been cleared for bauxite mining by Alcoa and mining company South32,” Mr Batini said.

   Former General Manager of CALM WA, Roger Underwood, believes there are two possible reasons why environmentalists have baulked at tackling bauxite mining in relation to the destruction of WA’s jarrah forests.

   He does not believe they have been ‘bought off’ but that they recognise it is a battle they cannot win.

   “The alumina industry is well-established and prosperous, is fully supported by government agencies and has a superb public relations machine.

   “The environmentalists would be done over, and they know it,” Mr Underwood said.

   In the same week that Mr McGowan was signing the RFA agreement The Sunday Times reported that a key priority of the McGowan government was “ensuring we protect WA’s unique natural environmental legacy for future generations...”.

   Keep in touch at hills or write to PO Box 111 Gidgegannup WA 6083.

Vanadium the new bauxite for posing open-cut threat

WHEN the Avon and Hills Mining Awareness group rallied at State Parliament four years ago to present 4300 signatures to MPs in both houses, the group was seeking to ban only bauxite mining in the Perth Hills and Avon Valley.

   The immediate threat was open-cut mining in the Morangup/Wundowie area by Chinese-backed Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures (BAJV).

   However, the group later realised a second petition was needed to ban all types of open-cut mining within 100km of Perth.

   Our second petition is well on its way again to securing more than 4000 signatures, this time to ban open-cut mining of iron ore, vanadium and lithium – which are all found locally – as well as bauxite.

   West Australians have ridden iron ore mining booms and busts since the mid-1960s and most people know that iron ore is used to make steel, with China the biggest buyer.

   When AHMAG members first started telling people four years ago about a planned 62km2 bauxite mine in the Morangup/Wundowie area, they were often asked “what’s bauxite?”

   Most locals now know that it is the local area’s ochre-coloured pea gravel which is smelted to make aluminium.

   With the rise in mobile phones and sources of renewable energy many people now also know a little about lithium, which is used to make batteries.

   It’s the world’s lightest metal and is used medically as a drug to treat bi-polar disorder as well as industrially in ceramics and aircraft manufacture.

   Lithium is found in igneous rock, including in local Darling Range bauxite deposits formed from weathered granite.

   Vanadium flies under most people’s radars but Vanadium Australia Ltd owns a large live tenement between Wundowie and Bakers Hill, and it’s time we learnt more about what it is.

   The silver grey metallic element is often derived from mineral ores and, along with lithium, is a rising star in modern renewable energy technology.

   About 85 per cent of the world’s vanadium production is used to strengthen steel for wheel axles, bicycle frames, crankshafts and gears.

   Rising global demand for renewable energy makes local deposits of lithium and vanadium increasingly attractive to open-cut miners, regardless of the impact of nearby communities.

Proposed Extension to the Toodyay Road Gravel Pit

You are probably aware of the proposal to expand the amount of gravel extracted from 3650 Toodyay Road near Red Swamp Brook.

If this concerns you, NOW is the time to register your disapproval.

There is a Public Notice about this at the Shire of Mundaring's web site. Invitations to comment close at 4pm on 19 December 2017. The public notice gives detail about where to lodge your concerns.

You can also give your comments on the "invitation to comment" icon at .

You can use either of these ways to register your concern.

Time is short. You can also also ask for an extension for this process.

You do NOT need to be a resident of the Shire of Mundaring. Everybody that might be affected has every right to register their concerns.


A look at the available documents (see below) suggests that the environmental impact work that has been carried out is less than adequate. The key points are:

  • Impact on the quality of the water in Red Swamp Brook and its knock on effect on the local vegetation and animals
    • Turbidity (how clear the water is)
    • Acidity
    • Falling oxygen levels
    • Salinisation risk
  • Impact on the value of the surrounding properties
  • Impact of noise
  • Loss of visual amenity
  • Road safety issues including
    • The speed differential between vehicles already on Toodyay Road and those emerging from the gravel pit
    • The delays to emergency services vehicles on Toodyay Road
    • The presence of school buses
    • The geometry of the road, including overtaking lanes and the width of road reserves
    • The ability of Toodyay Road to handle up to an additional 300 fully laden trucks for day
    • Risk of runoff of sand, gravel and water from the pit onto Toodyay Road
  • Impact on tourism on visitors to the Avon Valley


Points from 22 submissions received by the Shire of Mundaring to initial gravel pit application can be found here. This includes a map at the end of the document.

One licencee is Trico Resources Pty Ltd, and the grant of licence by the Department of Environment Regulation can be found here.

Another licencee is Swan Gravel Pty Ltd, and the grant of licence by the Department of Environment Regulation can be found here.

The Future of Toodyay



Toodyay Shire Local Planning Strategy (LPS) is being re-written. The DRAFT Local Planning Strategy is currently available for comment. Your chance to make your opinion count on local planning and development over the next ten to fifteen years.

You can find the strategy on the Shire website

Make a submission today!

Submissions on the planning strategy must be in writing and include reference to the strategy, the property affected where applicable and must be lodged on or before close of business Friday, 3 November 2017. You can make a submission on the draft strategy a number of ways.

By email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Online – using the form on the Shire website
Hard copy form or letter - see the flyer for details.

The attached Community Notice flyer has the basic information, however read on for more detail on items for comment.

The Shire has quietly included Mining in the draft strategy for the first time, combining it with Extractive Industries in two sections: 6.7 Mining and Extractive Industries (P13); and 7.7 Mining and Extractive Industries. (P22). These put Mining (bauxite, coal, oil and gas) and Extractive Industries (sand, clay, gravel) together. Mining is also mentioned in respect of the “Zoning Table” which the Shire has not provided for us to see with the other LPS documents on the website.

Mining has no place in a Local Planning Strategy because Local Government has no authority to approve or deny mining. However it does have that authority regarding Extractive Industries in the Shire. So the two industries can’t legitimately be combined. Having Mining in the LPS sends an incorrect message to everyone – suggesting: that the two are similar; and that Local Government has control over Mining as well as Extractive industries in the ShireI. Local Government has no authority to approve or deny, BUT CAN HAVE A SAY ON MINING under Section 120 of the Mining Act, as can anyone else! It also sends a message to State Government that mining is OK in Toodyay.

There are other areas where you might want to have a say as well! Check out the flyer for some additional items that might affect you

If you plan to write a submission:

  • Write it in your own words (if it is identical to another one it may be discounted)

  • If you don’t want Toodyay to have large areas of open cut mining that will impact EVERYONE in the Shire then you may want to include these suggestions.



  • the whole of 6.7 Mining and Extractive Industries, which should be rewritten to refer only to Extractive Industries.

  • the whole of 7.7 Mining and Extractive Industries, which should be rewritten to refer only to Extractive Industries.

  • excluding Mining from the Zoning table completely ie NOT using either “D” Discretionary or “X” Not permitted for Mining


Other areas of the LPS that might impact on YOU include:

  • 5.2.13 Refers to protecting the shire from large scale inapproriate develop,ent and gives regional landfill as an example. A further example should be added - open cut mining eg bauxite, as this is an even larger scale inappropriate development

  • 7.3 Tourism - Reference to tourism is focussed on use of agricultural land with no reference to the scenery and wildlife which can add so much and is a major sustainable enterprise.

  • 7.1, 7.4, 7.10 All have references to re-zoning which may impact on YOU if you live in one of these areas

  • If you are a rural resident there is no reference to maintaining security of your rainwater and/or borewater supply. Both would be threatened by large scale development. There is reference to water supply only for the townsite and in the section on Biodiversity.


Read more: The Future of Toodyay

Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day 2017

The sun was shining, kids were laughing, adults were chatting, food and coffee vans were humming and the Small Farm Field Day was alive with activity.

The Honourable Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Minister for Regional Development: Agriculture and Food was in attendance to officially open the day’s events and AHMAG were lucky enough to have a quick chat with her and newly elected MLA Jessica Shaw about Yankuang Bauxite Resources proposed plans to mine here in the Darling Range.
Minister MacTiernan said that before the field day she had no previous knowledge of Yankuangs proposals, but showed concern over the possibility of losing tens of thousands of acres of productive farmland to strip mining.
Given the Minister had only just learnt about the proposals, she made the reasonable comment that she would need to speak with Yankuang to get their take on their plans before she could have an opinion one way or another, so watch this space.

With such great weather and such a well-planned and executed event, AHMAG were inundated with support from concerned people eager to sign our latest petition to stop “Bulk Commodity” mining from occurring within 100 km of Perth’s CBD.

We would like to thank The Experience Gidgegannup Committee for organizing such a fantastic event and a special thank you to Jennifer Kent and Sally Block for always making us feel so welcome every year.


Attention - EPA Referral Process

This is the EPA referral process that we must all be aware of.

The following link will take you to a 7 day window that has been opened for comment by the EPA, in relation to a referred proposal from South 32 (Worsley Alumina) to increase alumina production, by increasing their Hotham mining footprint in the Darling Scarp.

Example of How The Referral Process Works

Whether you agree with this proposed expansion or not, it is a perfect example of how the referral process works and is exactly what we can expect when Yankuang refer the Fortuna and Felicitas resources to the EPA for consideration.

7 Day Window

The EPA has opened a 7 day window for comment, please open and read the attached link as it is exactly the type of Notice that will be released by the EPA on their website when Yankuang refer their proposals for mining to the EPA here in Morangup, Wundowie and Wooroloo.

We will only be given seven days and 500 words (Approximately A4 size) to state why we want their proposed plans to go to a full Public Environmental Review (PER). For example: Dust issues, Light pollution, Noise, Water, Destruction of farmland, Environment concerns, property value losses, etc, etc, etc. This list just goes on and on.

What You Will See on The EPA Link

Why We Are Consulting. At this initial stage of the EIA process, comment is simply sought on whether or not the EPA should assess a proposal and, if so, what level of assessment is considered appropriate.

  • Do not assess
  • Assess - Referral information
  • Assess - Environmental review - no public review
  • Assess - Public environmental review......When Yankuang refer their proposals to the EPA, we all need to choose Assess - Public environmental review.

Why We Need a Full PER

This is vitally important, because without a PER the proposal will merely go through the process and no further input will be allowed by the PUBLIC, which of course is us. A full PER can take many months to complete which enables much more scrutiny from the Public.

Please click on the link below and prepare yourselves for the future EPA referral by Yankuang Bauxite Resources to mine the Felicitas and Fortuna resources.

If you disagree with the current proposal by South 32, then you may also wish to call for this proposal to be assessed at a full PER level as a trial run, but that is up to you. The window opened on the 22nd of May, so you are running out of time.


EPA Hotham Mining Extension Consultation

Wundowie Iron Festival

AHMAG would like to take this opportunity to invite our followers to the Wundowie Iron Festival this Sunday the 21st of May 2017.

The iron festival is a great day out for the whole family and a short 65 km drive up the Great Eastern highway from Perth. Gates open at 9 am until 4 pm.
We will have our marquee set up collecting signatures to our latest petition. So if you come along, don’t forget to drop in to say hello and sign our petition to show your support against bauxite mining in Wundowie, Wooroloo and Morangup.

The industrial history of Wundowie was born on April 15, 1948, when the completed Wundowie Charcoal Iron and Steel mill was opened. The mill was closed in 1981 after 33 years of operation and Bradken now operate out of the foundry facilities, keeping the link to Wundowie’s commercial heritage alive.

Wundowie was the birthplace of WA’s iron ore industry. To find out more about the Iron Festival, click here.

We hope to see you on Sunday.


Wundowie Iron Festival

Neighbours From Hell

Guess who's co-sponsoring the Toodyay Agricultural show again this year?

Yes you guessed right, it's the People's Republic of China, complete with the Yancoal logo imbedded in the outline of WA.

Although they did not attend last year’s show, their money was there. Yankuang have recently said that they hope to have a mine up and running within the next 3 - 5 years and their continued sponsorship of a show that they do not attend seems to confirm their intensions.

Make no mistate about it, if you live in Morangup, the Mauravillo or Dale View estates in Wundowie, or the outskirts of Wooroloo, then at some point in the future Yankuang have plans to be your nieghbours.


One Billion Tonnes of Bauxite

One billion tonnes of bauxite stripped out of our Darling Range over the past 63 years.

It was reported in the Mandurah Mail on the 5th of February 2016 that Alcoa were celebrating a huge milestone of mining "One Billion Tonnes" of bauxite in Western Australia since the company began mining in 1953. This story is now over 15 months old which means you can probably add another 40 million tonnes or more to that tally. 

While this may have been great news for Alcoa's bottom line and for those who rely on mining for a living, it has had a devastating effect on our Jarrah forests along the Darling Range.

With advancement in mining equipment and ongoing demand for bauxite, production rates have increased dramatically over the past 60 years, so you can guarantee the next billion tonnes will not take anywhere near as long.

The article goes on to mention Alcoa's internationally recognized land rehabilitation program. This is supposed to negate concern for our Jarrah forests and canopy floor species, with the planting of small seedlings to replace mature trees, but the Google Earth time lapse maps provided by David Osborne in our last 2 post merely shows a Darling Range that is under enormous stress.

We have often said that if a large corporation begins bauxite strip mining here in Morangup, Wundowie and Wooroloo, then they would remain in the area long after the estimated 25 years and the initial 275,000,000 tonnes that has been spruked by Yankuang, as the Darling Range is full of bauxite just in varying grades.

What would our area look like in 60 years if Yankuang ever get approval to mine here???


Article in the Mandurah Mail


Our Jarrah Forrests Are Being Destroyed And Our Farmland Is Next

In our last post David Osborne shared a time lapse map from 1987 to 2017 of one of the World’s largest operating bauxite mine, Alcoa's Huntley mine near Dwellingup / Pinjarra.

The Huntley mine extracts more than 25 million tonnes of bauxite annually to feed the Kwinana and Pinjarra refineries and as reported previously that number is set to soar due to new export agreements signed with the Barnett government and Alcoa.

David has now shared a time lapse map of the same period 1987 to 2017 of Alcoa's Willowdale mine near Waroona, which feeds the Wagerup refinery. The refinery looks down over the ruins of the once thriving hamlet of Yarloop which was raised to the ground by a catastrophic fire in 2016.

The town was already a shadow of its former glory with the towns social fabric destroyed when Alcoa bought back many of the homes because of health concerns due to the refinery being an unwelcome nieghbour to many.

The Willowdale mine extracts some 10 million plus tonnes of bauxite each year, which is roughly the same amount expected to be mined at the proposed Felicitas and Fortuna mines here in Morangup, Wundowie and Wooroloo.

Chinese state owned Yankuang bauxite resources (YBR) have identified an initial 275 million tonnes of bauxite, which is of no surprise given the Darling Range is recognized as a bauxite rich location where varying grades are found.

Exploration by Yankuang and BRL is set to continue with BRL being granted another 2 tenements in the past 8 months, which will ultimately see the 62 km2 area increase in much the same way as seen in the time laps images provided by David, as more and more resource is identified in this section of bauxite rich Darling Range.

The destruction proposed for our area may not impact on the jarrah forest, but it will destroy tens of thousands of acres of productive farmland, native vegetation and bush, in what is known as an incredibly reliable rain fall area.

Roger Underwood made the statement that ‘The alumina industry is destroying the jarrah forest – and nobody seems to care. At least, nobody is complaining about it”

When Yankuang decide that the time is right to continue with proposals to progress with their mine plans, will we all sit back and just watch the destruction creep across another area of the Range destroying everything in its path?

The time lapse maps of the Huntley and Willowdale mine are just a sample of the destruction that is occuring to theJarrah Forests as we have not even touched on South 32 (Formally BHP) Worsley's operation.

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

Click here to view time-lapse maps of the Willowdale mine near Waroona

Thanks again to David Osborne creator of WalkGPS.


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