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$427M mineral mine on track for approval

Hastings Technology Yangibana Project
Hastings Technology Yangibana Project

A mineral producer has received the tentative green light for its $427 million rare earths mine in Western Australia’s midwest region.

The WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recently recommended environmental approval for Hastings Technology’s Yangibana Rare Earths Project, 270 km northeast of Carnarvon.

The project will involve developing five open mine pits, beneficiation and hydrometallurgy processing plant, access roads, haul roads, accommodation village, airstrip, administration buildings and tailings storage facilities. Each year the one million tonnes of ore will be mined from the Bald Hill and Frasers deposits and processed to create up to 15,000t of mixed rare earths carbonate. This will require groundwater abstraction.

The largest pits are designed to be about 125 metres deep, with Bald Hill measuring 1.1 km long and 600m wide (an area of 100 hectares) and Frasers spanning 600m long and 250m wide (86 ha area).

No guarantee locals will win all the work

The project will create 263 jobs and Hastings is promising to hire some “suitably skilled people locally wherever possible” from Gascoyne Junction, Carnarvon and Geraldton.

However, the proponent admits it has prepared to hire a 100 per cent fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workforce.

“Definitive feasibility study operating cost estimate modelling is based on a 100 per cent FIFO rostered workforce due to the remoteness of the site,” the feasibility study said.

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Final approval is subject to meeting conditions

Final approval by State Environment Minister Stephen Dawson is subject to the proponent minimising impacts on significant vegetation and flora and limiting groundwater drawdown.

“The EPA has recommended conditions to manage these environmental impacts, including requirements for surveys of significant flora and vegetation, modelling of surface water before any clearing and the preparation of management plans for flora and vegetation and stygofauna fauna,” EPA chair Dr Tom Hatton said in a public statement.

Public consultation on the EPA’s report will close on July 10.

Click here to download the full EPA report.

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