> Questions and answers...

...regarding the applications for Iron Road's Central Eyre Iron Project

Please note that answers to questions relating to the specific content of the applications and potential impacts of the project are available from Iron Road’s website at: www.ironroadlimited.com.au

Iron Road Limited is proposing to develop a magnetite iron ore mining and infrastructure project on Eyre Peninsula. The proposed Central Eyre Iron Project (CEIP) consists of a mine and associated infrastructure developments which provide the logistics pathways or support for the mining operations.

The applicant for the mining lease is IRD Mining Operations Pty Ltd (IRD Mining), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iron Road Limited. All references to Iron Road in these frequently questions and answers may be taken to refer to IRD Mining as well as Iron Road Limited.

The CEIP includes the following components:

  • Mine: An open cut magnetite iron ore mine, including mine pit, integrated waste landform and processing plant
  • Port: A new deep water port facility at Cape Hardy on the Spencer Gulf, including a 1.3km jetty and wharf structure with a conveyor and ship loader capable of loading Cape-size vessels
  • Rail: A new 145km long standard gauge rail line from the mine to the port
  • Water: A water supply bore field and pipeline ~60km south east of the proposed mine site
  • Power: Electricity supply infrastructure from the Yadnarie substation and then joining up with the same corridor as the rail line and water pipeline
  • Accommodation: An accommodation village located immediately adjacent to the boundaries of the township of Wudinna.

The CEIP is subject to both State and Commonwealth law.

In September 2015, following several years of technical investigations, design, and discussion with many stakeholders including the local community and Government, Iron Road lodged applications, with the South Australian Government, for mining tenements and planning approval to support the development of the CEIP.

The applications are as follows:

  • Mine: A mining lease application, including a comprehensive mining proposal (MP) was assessed under the Mining Act 1971.
  • Infrastructure: An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the infrastructure components (including a port, rail line, borefield, power and accommodation village), all of which have been declared a Major Development under s46 of the Development Act 1993.
  • Matters of National Environmental Significance: Content addressing potential impacts on Southern Right Whales from shipping movements in the Spencer Gulf has been submitted in the EIS for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth).

Currently, Iron Road has satisfied the first of the two-stage process in developing a project. The government has carefully considered the environmental, social and economic impacts posed by the operations, the potential for treatment, through mitigation or management, of those impacts, and whether any residual impact posed by the project is acceptable. Government has consequently offered the mining tenements and development approval to Iron Road with a significant number of conditions and performance requirements that must be met.

Activities cannot commence until Iron Road gains approval of the detailed operating plans and programs addressing all conditions of the approvals. This involves the preparation of comprehensive construction, operation and closure plans and programs, in consultation with stakeholders. The plans and programs describe the operations in detail and set out how all of the terms and conditions of the original approval will be achieved, including the specific details of monitoring necessary to demonstrate the mine and infrastructure is performing as required.

A further thorough Government assessment of the plans and programs is undertaken and these must be approved before any operations or preparatory works can commence.

Before commencing mining operations or preparatory works Iron Road are required to develop and submit for approval, within 12 months, a comprehensive operational mining program called a program for environment protection and rehabilitation (PEPR) for the CEIP mine, and gain an operating licence under the Environment Protection Act.

The Development Approval sets out the requirements for the detailed plans which are required ahead of the commencement of any on-ground works. Iron Road will need to receive approval of a construction environmental management plan (CEMP) and operational environmental management plan (OEMP).

Iron Road will need to secure access to land which it requires for operations, secure funding, employ a workforce of staff and key contractors to support their proposed activities. Iron Road will also be required to pay a bond - money set aside for the purpose of rehabilitating the mine in the event a company fails to do so, ensuring environmental liability does not rest with the State.

The CEIP project has been subjected to one of the most comprehensive environmental assessments of any project in South Australian history, considering potential impacts during construction, operation and once mining has finished.

The environmental assessment for the CEIP has involved technical specialists from across government including the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC), the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), Safework SA, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), as well as independent technical experts in specialist areas such as geotechnical engineering and geochemistry.

During the public consultation of the project, held for more than 10 weeks, 105 submissions were received, all of which were consdiered during the deetailed environmental assessment by the government.

These considerations include:

  • Air quality
  • Noise and vibration
  • Blasting
  • Soil/land disturbance
  • Native vegetation
  • Native fauna
  • Visual amenity
  • Heritage
  • Surface water
  • Adjacent land use and protection of third party property
  • Public safety
  • Traffic
  • Socio-economic impacts
  • Land access
  • Groundwater
  • Marine environment
  • Weeds, pests andn plant pathogens

In operation Iron Road will be subject to strict regulation and monitoring, inlcuding the continuous monitoring of dust, noise and meteorological conditions. Reporting of the monitoring results, including real-time dust and noise monitoring will provide the public the opportunity to validate the mines performance for themselves.

Iron Road's compliance reporting will contain the results of all monitoring activities, and this will be available to the public.

Iron Road have outlined the anticipated positive and negative impacts from their CEIP in their applications and Iron Road's website.

Expected potential benefits from mining may include: stimulation of the economy and greater diversity in opportunities on the Eyre Peninsula and the broader State economy through job creation and increased demand for local skills and services; improved infrastructure and services for the community and businesses; and a stabilisation or growth in declining population levels in some centres.

There are also potential negative impacts and challenges for local and regional communities from any significant new development - the Government has considered the range of direct and indirect positive and negative impacts from the CEIP as a component of the balanced assessment process for Iron Road's applications.

The South Australian Government strongly believes that the coexistence of our agriculture, mining, energy, environment, community and other significant land users will continue to support both short and long term prosperity for our state, as it has throughout our history.

In South Australia, the rights of all land users are recognised and their intentions acknowledged and respected. Recognising the importance of this issue, the South Australian Government has taken a lead role in the development of a national Multiple Land Use Framework for maximising the benefits of our land assets for present and future generations of Australians.

Government assessment of all forms of development including mining is merit-based, and considers the benefits and consequences for other land users and the wider community. Comprehensive assessment processes take into account the location of any proposed development, including environmental, heritage, cultural value, commercial and land access issues.

More information on the national Multiple Land Use Framework

The assessment of the CEIP has been undertaken on the scope of work outlined in the proposals. If Iron Road propose changes of substance to the scope of works that are inconsistent with what has been outlined in the MP and EIS these must go through a separate application and assessment process, which would include consultation with the community.

Any proposal to develop another mine would require a new mining lease application which would be subjected to the same extensive studies, regulatory application and assessment processes and public consultation that the CEIP application has been subjected to.

No. There are no provisions in the Mining Act for miners to compulsory acquire land. Iron Road cannot undertake any mining or construction until they have reached an agreement with the landowner or by an order of the Court.

The recent Grant of the lease does not give Iron Road any new rights to access land. Iron Road will need to either purchase the relevant land or negotiate a land access agreement including any waiver agreements as required under the Mining Act 1971 before they are able to enter the land to commence mining operations.

If Iron Road and the landowner cannot reach an agreement, Iron Road will need to consider making an application with the appropriate Court seeking an order of the Court to access the land. A landowner is entitled to appropriate compensation paid by Iron Road for access to their land for mining.

The Mining Act includes a specific provision where the landowner can apply to the Land and Valuation Court seeking an order for the miner to purchase their land where mining operations will substantially affect the owners use and enjoyment of the land.

Copies of the Mining Act are available on the Legislation SA website: http://www.legislation.sa.gov.au

The Government recognises the significant opportunity for local, regional and State businesses to benefit from participation in new major developments in the state. The Government will work closely with Iron Road to promote local content, to meet Iron Road's requirement under an Australian Industry Participation Plan setting out how Austrlaian companies will have full, fair and reasonable opportunity to participate in the project.

Further information on the Government assessment process is available on this website.

Further information on Iron Road's project can be found at: http://www.ironroadlimited.com.au