Australia’s Commonwealth Government has announced a favourable ruling supporting Lincoln Minerals’ proposed development of the Kookaburra Gully Graphite Project on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.
The Department of the Environment has ruled that under sections 75 and 77A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), Lincoln’s proposal to develop, operate and decommission its open-cut Kookaburra Gully graphite mine, 35km north of Port Lincoln, is not a controlled action if undertaken in a particular manner. This means the proposed mine does not require further Federal assessment and approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed.
Lincoln’s managing director Dr John Parker said, “This is an important and positive decision for Lincoln and paves the way for final assessment of our mining lease proposal (MLP) submitted to the SA Department of State Development (DSD) in February last year.
“The MLP was released for public comment in September 2015 and, based on the submissions received by DSD from the general public and other Government departments, a Response Document was prepared by Lincoln and lodged last week with DSD for assessment along with the original MLP.”
The mining lease and referral applications were made by Lincoln under the name of Australian Graphite Pty Ltd (AGL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lincoln.
Under the Commonwealth EPBC ruling, AGL must now ensure that:
- No clearance of Eyre Peninsula Blue Gum Woodland occurs as a result of the proposed action;
- A fence and signage is to be erected around the Eyre Peninsula Blue Gum Woodland at a distance of at least 5 metres from the identified Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) prior to construction;
- There is a minimum 20 metre buffer between construction and Eyre Peninsula Blue Gum Woodland; and
- Clearance on the proposed mine site is consistent with the attached map.
Dr Parker said these matters were consistent with Lincoln’s approach to developing Kookaburra Gully and would not impinge on AGL’s proposed development.
“The protection of the Eyre Peninsula Blue Gum and other endangered or threatened species in the region and along transport routes has been and remains a priority for the company.”
Following release of AGL’s MLP for public review and comment, 25 public submissions were received by AGL from DSD along with submissions from other State Government departments.
AGL, with the support of various third party consultants, has responded to matters raised in these submissions that either required clarification and/or additional information. This included an additional flora and fauna survey along Kookaburra Gully’s proposed transport and pipeline routes.
A Response Document was finalised in December 2015 and lodged with DSD on January 4, 2016. This will enable DSD to undertake a comprehensive assessment of AGL’s mining lease proposal prior to final consideration by the South Australian Government. Subject to the Government assessment process, it is anticipated that a mining lease could be offered to AGL during the current quarter.