Issues and Concerns

From August 2009 BRL mined bauxite on private agricultural land in the Chittering Shire for export to China on a “trial” basis (which BRL calls “Stage 1”). This activity was conducted under an “Extractive Industry Licence” (EIL) granted by the Shire in respect of pre-1899 land known as “minerals to owner” land.  Under the Shire of Chittering’s Town Planning Scheme (TPS), an EIL is intended for the extraction of sand, clay, gravel or rock on a small scale as basic raw materials for local construction.

Under the TPS, the commercial extraction of minerals is not permitted in any zoning in the Shire.

BRL did not obtain environmental approval for its Stage 1 activities, and while BRL’s Trial / Stage 1 Operations were to have been finalised by the end of 2009, activity continued until miid February 2010. 

BRL applied for a further EIL to mine up to 9 million tonnes of bauxite at a rate of 3Mtpa - also without obtaining EPA approval.

While BRL has raised $57 million on the back of the next stage of its proposed operations, mining is not permitted under the current TPS and the Shire of Chittering has declined approval for further mining operations
in the Shire.

Given that BRL claims to have tenements spanning over 16,800 km2 of project area under mining titles or applications from Moora to Manjimup in the North, East and South Darling Ranges from which it plans to mine 180mt of bauxite ore; its current operations represent ‘the thin end of the wedge’.

BRL has received no heritage clearance for any of their bauxite assets.

The Concerns

  • Stage 1 proceeding although mining is not permitted by the TPS
  • Stage 1 proceeding unassessed and unmonitored as to environmental and social impacts
  • BRL’s repeated refusal to provide any information about its medium and long term plans
  • BRL’s failure to engage in any public consultation process about its plans
  • BRL’s failure to initiate any statutory environmental assessment processes which are standard procedure for a project of this nature
  • The gross inadequacy of local road infrastructure to accomodate the scale and frequency of haul trucks
  • A number of breaches of licence conditions
  • The obviously damaging impacts of the mining, trucking and loading activities, especially on those directly affected by Stage 1, specifically;
    • Dust and noise emissions
    • Road trains operating every four minutes on local roads and school bus routes causing extremely dangerous road conditions and major damage to local roads
    • Significant impact on the amenity of properties and tourism businesses affected at the siding, along the haul route and adjacent to the mine
    • Visible impacts on fauna and flora from haul operations
    • Potential depletion of limited aquifer water for industrial use – the impact of which has not been qualified or quantified
    • Uncertainty arising from a lack of full disclosure by BRL as to its long-term plans for large-scale operations in the area.

If BRL is not held accountable at this stage of its operations, it is likely it will replicate its irresponsible approach to environmental management, and negative environmental impacts across a sizeable stretch of an ecologically diverse, rural district.

For further information, the following documents are available to download:

R4RM Frequently Asked Questions

Background to BRL’s bauxite mining


Links to relevant information

Guidelines for an Environmental Review and Management Proposal for the Pacminex Chittering Alumina Project - January 1975

Information regarding Salinity and the effects of Salinity

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