Conservation Council calls for a halt to all new mining approvals
The Conservation Council of WA is calling for an immediate moratorium on all new mining and exploration approvals in WA. This follows an Auditor General’s report revealing that the State Government is failing on every level to adequately enforce environmental regulations in the mining sector.
CCWA Spokesman Tim Nicol said, “While the government has poured millions of dollars into fast tracking resource projects, very little has been done to improve management of the environmental impacts of mines. The State Government is asleep at the wheel and until they can show that they are able and willing to manage the mines we already have, no new sites should be approved.
“Mining environmental conditions are designed to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe from pollution, and to protect threatened species from bulldozers and mine pits. Yet hundreds of mine sites are operating with no inspection. Hundreds of mines are failing to provide annual reports, and no one is there to read them if they do.
“In fact, this report clearly shows that the only area where the government is fulfilling its duty is in collecting royalties.”
In 2007 a crackdown on compliance was mooted after a series of inspections found that 82% of mining exploration operations failed to meet their conditions of operation. No such intensive inspection of mining operations has ever been made public. The Auditor General report reveals that little progress has been made to improve levels of inspection in the last four years.
Mr Nicol said, “Here we have proof that a very significant amount of mining activity in WA is essentially unregulated, confirming CCWA’s fears that mining could be having huge impacts on the WA environment that are going unchecked and unreported. This is especially concerning given that the government is also failing to secure adequate bonds from mining companies to cover the costs of environmental damage.
“This potentially massive unknown environmental cost of the mining boom will be paid by taxes from the WA community.”
CCWA has previously called for a ban on uranium mining and a moratorium on the dangerous practice of gas fracking.
Mr Nicol said, “The Government’s assurances that they can successfully manage the impacts of these unfamiliar and dangerous practices when the agencies are already overwhelmed are increasingly hollow.
“Until the government can show that it has put systems in place to at least measure, let alone manage, the environmental impact of mining they shouldn’t be approving any new mines.”
Tim Nicol – 0422 235 774
John McCarten – 0403 900 193