Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Chair. Minister, I am interested in an update on the status of the Shree Minerals mine site on the Nelson Bay River. Are you aware of any remediation measures that Shree has undertaken since the mine closed and what will the Government be doing to enforce Shree Minerals to remediate the site? Noting, that last time I checked, there were about 8000 cubic metres of acid-forming rock on the banks of the Nelson Bay River.
Mr BARNETT - Thank you very much for the question. Clearly the question goes to the role of EPA, and I am not the Minister for the Environment, nor the EPA, but I can provide an update to the committee to note that Shree Minerals did suspend its mining operations at Nelson Bay River in mid-2014 due to falling iron ore prices. The mine is not operating and the site is in care-and-maintenance. To recommence mining, Shree needs to gain new environmental approvals including the appropriate management of potentially acid-forming waste material on the site.
I am advised that Shree has submitted a new development application focusing on the development of the direct shipping ore pit only, and the storage of all potentially acid-forming (PAF) material. Shree submitted, I am advised, another draft EPMP to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) on 20 August 2021 and the EPA accepted this version. Subsequently the Circular Head Council advertised the application. The case for assessment closed for public comment on 8 February 2022, I am advised. The EPA is currently reviewing the assessment.
The mining lease remains in good standing, with no outstanding annual rent or royalty payments, and no regulatory compliance issues concerning the mining lease.