R4RM Current position

As at 25 November 2013:

On 10 October 2013 Bauxite Alumina Joint Ventures announced that it was terminating the Public Environmental Review process (commenced in September 2010) in relation to its Bauxite mining proposal at north Bindoon.  This came about 10 days after Bauxite Resources Limited announced that a class action was proceeding against the company for misleading and deceptive conduct - See Media Release dated 14 October 2013 for details.


As at 29 June 2010:

IMF Australia Limited announcement

IMF Australia Limited announced on Friday 25 June 2010 that it has a funding agreement to commence litigation against Bauxite Resources Limited on behalf of past and current shareholders. Go to www.imf.com.au to view a copy of the Overview of the claim.

The shareholders’ claim arises from non-disclosure of significant information about BRL’s Stage 1 mining operations in Chittering and the company's exploration activities.

It is clear that the Board of BRL has some major corporate problems arising from this. It also confirms what R4RM has been saying from the outset: that Stage 1 and Stage 2 as originally proposed under an Extractive Industry Licence were not permitted under the Shire of Chittering Town Planning Scheme, and that BRL flouted town planning laws and environmental regulations when it started up its operations.

EPA: BRL’s Latest Backflip on Environmental Assessment 25 June 2010

On 25 June BRL announced to the Stock Exchange that it will withdraw its Stage 2 proposal to mine 1.2 million tonnes from land north of Bindoon and its appeal against the level of assessment set by the EPA. It will now submit a new proposal to the EPA for a 2 million tonne per annum mining operation from private land north of Bindoon.

BRL describes the new proposal as "long-term" and "sustainable" however it does not say what the total tonnage of the proposal is or how many years it would continue. BRL claims it will share its plans with the community and seek transparent assessment by the EPA – claims which have zero credibility based on the company's performance so far.

It is clear from this latest backflip by BRL that the EPA is resisting BRL's attempts to "salami slice" its projects.

We will wait and see whether the new Stage 2 proposal (the third in less than a year) is truly transparent and covers long term mining plans for our region – including, for example Victoria Plains, or whether it is limited to Bindoon.

Yet again, because BRL cannot get its act together, residents have wasted yet more time and money responding to a mining proposal that has now been withdrawn.

There remain serious questions about the viability of mining low quality bauxite in multiple locations on private land for direct export. Ron Renton who has worked in the bauxite industry for over 30 years and was exploration manager for Alcoa for many years knows these bauxite deposits and the exhaustive exploration that has been done by previous reputable mining companies. Ron has confirmed that the bauxite is low quality - although there may be many small pods of higher grade bauxite it is not viable to mine these. It is very significant that BRL has not produced any concept or feasibility studies demonstrating the long term viability and sustainability of their proposed mining operations.

Ian Watson – Clarification

In May 2010 BRL appointed Ian Watson as the Chairman of the BRL Bindoon Community Consultative Committee (BRL BCCC). Many people are asking if Ian is still a supporter of R4RM - the answer is No. Ian withdrew as a convenor of R4RM in January and has not played an active part in the group since early February. We became aware that Ian may have changed his position on mining when he appeared on the ABC TV News with BRL in mid March.

Recently, Ian has stated that he is the "independent" Chairman of the BRL BCCC, but several comments Ian has made to R4RM supporters confirm that he is in favour of BRL's plans to mine bauxite in Chittering. The most astounding thing is that Ian has changed his position before BRL has provided any more information about its future mining plans, and before the EPA has conducted its environmental assessment of BRL's immediate and future plans (an assessment which we all worked extremely hard to achieve) and before any social and agricultural impact assessment or planning study has been done to work out the impacts of mining on the peaceful rural character of this agricultural and tourism region, and the people that have invested here and live here.

BRL Bindoon Community Consultative Committee (BRL BCCC)

The first meeting of the BRL BCCC was held on 3 June 2010 at BRL's offices with a further "site visit" to the proposed BRL Stage 2 mine area held on 24 June 2010.

The original committee consists of:

  • Chairman: Ian Watson
  • Vice Chairman: Lee Martin
  • BRL: Terry O'Connor (Alt Rep – as required)
  • Shire: Alex Douglas (Alt Rep – Don Gibson)
  • R4RM: Denzil Sim (Alt Rep – Derek Gascoine)
  • Safe Roads Committee: Bob Blizard (Alt Rep – Mike Johnston)
  • Local resident: Lee Greenberg (Alt Rep – Danny Greenberg)
  • Local resident: David Charles (Alt Rep – Not selected yet)
  • Ch of Commerce: Angela Anspach (Alt Rep – to be confirmed)
  • Chittering Wildlife Carers: Yvonne Press (Alt Rep – Anne Irvin)

R4RM's Representative on the Committee is Denzil Sim, the Alternate Rep is Derek Gascoine.

There has been a change to Committee Representatives: The Rep of the Chamber of Commerce is now Phil Humphry (Angela Anspach retired as the C of C Rep before the committee first met).

R4RM is participating in the BRL BCCC in good faith. The "Terms of Reference" of the Committee were tabled at the end of the first meeting without discussion and will be posted on BRL's website (although they weren't posted by 24 June 2010).

The Terms of Reference contain some fundamental flaws and contradictions. From our discussions with Denzil Sim, there are also some governance issues arising from the way the BRL BCCC operates. As R4RM's representatives on the committee, Denzil or Derek will raise as many of these issues as possible within the structure of the Committee to see if they can be sorted out.

The key issues are:

  1. The committee is not independent of BRL – it is appointed by BRL and its chosen officers (Ian Watson and Lee Martin). BRL controls the make-up of the committee (nominees have been included or excluded with no clear explanation), BRL controls the agenda, the minutes of meetings and the direction of the committee.
  2. The committee has changed it name by dropping "Bauxite Resources" without explanation – so it is now the "Bindoon Community Consultative Committee". We think this is very misleading to residents as it appears to have no connection with BRL – BRL's own website refers to the original name that was in the advertisements in the Advocate. Why has it changed?
  3. The unelected committee claims to represent "the Bindoon community in the Shire of Chittering" (the geographical area of Bindoon community is undefined) and claims it will represent and liaise with key government departments on behalf of us all. It usurps the role of the elected Chittering Shire and the rights of individual residents in relation to the EPA and other important government processes.
  4. The committee is premature – so far, BRL's proposals have not been assessed by the EPA, nor have they been scrutinized by the Dept of Mines - BRL has no licence to operate in our community. R4RM and others have worked hard for BRL's activities to be independently assessed in the normal way. It is premature for a self-appointed "community committee" to operate as if bauxite mining is a certainty.
  5. The Terms of Reference state that the committee is "not a decision making" body – it is "advisory" only. However the Terms of Reference contain several references to "findings" "outcomes" "dissenting views" etc. all of which make it clear that the BRL BCCC intends to make decisions and recommendations and it will have a single view.
  6. The Terms of Reference do not facilitate "public consultation" – in fact all committee meetings are closed to the public and the agenda and minutes are controlled by the proponent – BRL. A true public consultation process is fully open, transparent and independent and records ALL views which are fed back to the proponent – BRL. In this case, the committee seems to be a mechanism for BRL to control the views expressed by the community and then tell us which is the right one

There are many other concerns with the Terms of Reference which would take too long to list here. It is very clear that BRL is using the BRL BCCC as a public relations opportunity for more self-publicity, advertising and spin.

R4RM has notified the relevant government departments that the BRL BCCC does not represent the community of Bindoon or R4RM supporters in relation to mining.

News from the BRL BCCC

a) BRL has stated that it will not use Mooliabeenee Siding for its proposed Stage 2 – instead it will truck ore direct to Kwinana. The reason given is that rail transport is not viable because the infrastructure does not have enough capacity. (This confirms that Stage 1 was not properly planned and was not feasible or sustainable as we have previously stated). BRL is considering providing a letter to the BRL BCCC to confirm it will not use the Siding - this letter seems to be the basis for rejecting Sue Cray's nomination to the committee to represent the Mooliabeenee area/school bus operator. It is not clear if Mooliabeenee Rd would still be used as a mine haul route

b) BRL has not provided more information about future mining plans

c) BRL has stated that Iron Mountain Mining (IMM) and BRL are not connected.

d) In reply to R4RM's question about whether the quality of Darling Ranges bauxite was too low for direct export to be feasible (which is the opinion of most bauxite experts) – BRL alleged this was misinformation put out as part of a conspiracy between IMM and Alumina Ltd to bring BRL down and grab its bauxite assets. Our investigations indicate that no such conspiracy exists. To date BRL has produced no concept study or feasibility study proving the viability of exporting raw bauxite from our region

e) At the first BRL BCCC meeting no committee member was required to declare any conflicts of interest about past, current or future connections with BRL. This is a significant failure of governance and R4RM will try to have this rectified.

The Shire of Chittering

One of the documents made available by BRL at the Shire office reveals that the Shire's CEO John Merrick is very much in favour of BRL and bauxite mining, and has zero respect for the views and concerns of R4RM supporters whom he described in December 2009 as "pathetic" in a discussion with BRL's public relations consultant.

The same document suggests that Ian Watson was negotiating a substantial consultancy with BRL in 2009 to handle community matters.

Farmer's Right of Veto to Mining Company Access for Exploration and Mining

We have prepared a Rough Guide to mining on private land which you can download here. Please pass it on to other landowners and residents who may be interested.

It confirms that a farmer can refuse his/her consent to a mining company accessing the top 30 metres of his/her land. There is no obligation to consent to a mining company having access to your land to explore or mine bauxite (or any other mineral) – you can just say "NO" to exploration or mining on agricultural land.

BRL Bindoon Community Consultative Committee (BRL BCCC) 17 May 2010

It was recently announced in The Advocate that the Chairman of the BRL BCCC will be Ian Watson and the Deputy Chairman will be Lee Martin.  It is understood, but not confirmed, that there will be 6 other community representatives who will include a representative of BRL and a representative of the Shire.  There seems to be some delay in finalizing the make-up the Committee.  Its terms of reference and method of operation are not yet known.

Several people in the community have expressed their concerns that the Committee does not appear to be independent of BRL.  Whilst there are clearly issues with the way the Committee is being formed, we must wait and see how it operates.

Wannamal Meeting 11th May 2010

Iron Mountain Mining (IMM) – a second bauxite ‘hopeful’ with exploration tenement areas stretching from the north of Bindoon Hill to Victoria Plains – has approached a number of farmers in the Wannamal area wanting access to properties for exploration.  BRL is also reported to be actively exploring in this part of the Shire and Victoria Plains.  BRL and IMM are believed to be connected.

At the invitation of Councillor Hawes and the Wannamal community group, Derek Gascoine and Clair Medhurst attended a meeting of Wannamal residents and Victoria Plains councilors keen to gather information and ask questions about their rights and the issue of mining on private land.  About 40 people attended.  BRL and IMM were specifically asked to stay away from the meeting.

The Public Relations Manager for BRL, Chantelle O’Sullivan, gate-crashed the Wannamal meeting and did not identify herself in the attendance register or to the meeting organizers until the meeting was almost over.  This went down like a lead balloon with residents.  This is a bizarre repeat of the first R4RM meeting at Bindoon Hall in November 2009 when BRL executives and contractors gate-crashed and refused to leave.  These actions confirm that BRL’s lack of respect for residents continues – it seems the company has now progressed from lying to spying to get what it wants.