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Environmental Protection Act 1986

Regulation of Uranium Exploration/Mining in Western Australia Workshop Gloucester Park, East Perth, 30 July 2009
Ray Claudius (Manager), Peter Walkington (Presenter) Environmental Protection Authority Service Unit

Approval Stages


Not Assessed

EPA Assessment

EPA Report and Recommendations

Ministerial Process

EIA Stages
Referral Level of Assessment

Scoping Document
Environmental Review Document Public Review Period Response to Submissions EPA Report

Anyone can refer MOU with Department of Minerals and Petroleum

Assessment and management of exploration proposals:

normally DMP
MOU triggers referral to EPA

Level of Assessment
28 days Geographic Information System check Sufficient information? Environmentally significant? Degree of public interest? Can it be managed under another process?

LOA may be appealed

Environmental Scoping Document (ESD)

Proposal definition Description of environment based on current knowledge Identification of values likely to be impacted Environmental Surveys to be undertaken Relevant EPA Guidance Statements Environmental Management

Relevant Government agencies provide advice

EPA decides what is relevant Poor quality ESD can cause delays EPA agrees assessment timeline and tracks it

Environmental Review Document

Proponents document for public review Based on ESD agreed content EPASU must agree it is suitable for release EPASU examines the ER document for: meeting ESD requirement readability inconsistencies (often due to changes in proposal definition)

Poor document leads to delays

Public Review Period

4 to 12 weeks (depending on complexity and public interest) Review period may be extended to allow for public holidays

Response to Submissions
Proponent responds to public submissions and those from Government agencies

If proponent fails to provide adequate response, delays may result

EPA decides when adequate information has been provided to progress EPA report Request for more information may be an alternative to a no recommendation

EPA Report and Recommendations

Report 10 weeks after Response to Submissions accepted. Decision and conditions confidential until public release (CCC outcome) EPA Report subject to appeals

Assessment Timeline - ERMP

Total time - 18 mths from 1st draft ESD (10 mths from ERMP)

Ministerial Process
Appeals Convenor considers appeals (no time limit) EPA draft conditions reviewed Sent to Decision Making Authorities for comment

After consulting with relevant Ministers and taking into account environmental, social and economic matters a decision is made by Minister for Environment.

Key Environmental Issues Requiring Evaluation for Mining Proposals

Flora and fauna Surface water and groundwater (quantity and contamination) Noise Air quality (dust, air toxics, radioactive emissions) Process waste management (tailings storage) Transport (yellow cake) Aboriginal heritage & cultural Rehabilitation and mine closure (legacy issues) Radiation assessment limited to impacts on environment (excludes worker safety) Advice on radiation provided by DoH/ Radiological Council

Regulation under Part V of EP Act

A Uranium mine is a prescribed premises and requires a Works Approval and Licence Category 5 - Processing or beneficiation of metallic or non metallic ore Category 6 - Mine dewatering Category 8 - Mineral sands or processing

Further role clarification via an MOU needed for incident/ spill response agencies

Key Messages for EIA

Scope of EPA assessment - mine construction, operation, spills, closure & rehabilitation and transport of radioactive materials Approval timeline parallel processing should be maximised

Assessment timeline - dependent on timely response from other agencies poor quality documents > assessment delays Primary advice on radiation provided by DoH/ Radiological Council Agency MOUs further devt of referral triggers for exploration further clarification of agency roles for spill response