Lincoln Minerals has been granted a groundwater licence for its proposed iron ore mine on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. The Barns iron ore deposit in Lincoln’s Gum Flat project is within the Southern Basins Prescribed Wells Area (SBPWA) just west of Port Lincoln and is subject to a Water Allocation Plan (WAP).
The groundwater licence is for the annual extraction of up to 435 megalitres for ‘Industrial’ purposes to progressively extract groundwater at a sustainable rate to facilitate the proposed iron ore mining operations and for other purposes ancillary to the proposed mine. This amount and the associated conditions of the licence are consistent with the WAP allocation for the basement aquifer of the SBPWA.
Lincoln Minerals emphasizes that the licence is only for extraction of groundwater from the region’s basement aquifer not the upper Bridgewater Formation aquifer that is host to groundwater in the Uley East and Uley South lenses. The proposed mine site is on topographic and palaeo-topographic highs where the upper aquifer does not contain groundwater.
Independent modelling shows that mining operations will not affect the Uley East lens nor the Uley South lens which is more than 10km away. The proposed mining operations will, therefore, not have any effect on Eyre Peninsula’s potable water supply in the short, medium or long term.
Conditions imposed by the South Australian Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation include preparation of an approved monitoring plan, obtaining a mining lease within four years and maintaining detailed records of extraction from meters supplied, installed and maintained in accordance with South Australian Licensed Water Use Meter Specifications.
In 2011, Lincoln prepared a draft Mining Lease Proposal (MLP) for stage 1 mining of the Barns deposit at Gum Flat but has been awaiting groundwater licensing before the MLP can be submitted. The company can now complete the MLP.
Lincoln recognizes that the groundwater resources in the SBPWA are valuable and need to be managed sustainably. The company believes that the groundwater extraction scheme for its proposed mining operation is consistent with these principles and is committed to working within the WAP for the SBPWA and the conditions of the groundwater licence.
The Gum Flat Iron Ore Project is on southern Eyre Peninsula which is a major world-class iron ore province extending from the Middleback Ranges to Port Lincoln. Gum Flat Exploration Licence 4643 contains a number of priority magnetic iron ore targets including Barns, Rifle Range and the Port Lincoln-Tulka suite. All are within 20km of Port Lincoln.
The company is proposing a two-stage development option of which the first stage is to mine the Barns hematite-magnetite deposit and annually export up to 250,000 tonnes Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) and hematite-magnetite concentrate over a 4-5 year mine life.