Lanco arm gets nod for Oz coal facility
Its proposal to develop 15-million tonne coal handling berth in Western Australia has received environmental clearance Hyderabad:...
Its proposal to develop 15-million tonne coal handling berth in Western Australia has received environmental clearance Hyderabad: Infrastructure major Lanco's coal mining operations in Australia received a boost with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Western Australia granting conditional approval for its proposal to develop a 15-million tonne coal handling berth at Bunbury Port. Clearing the project proposed by Griffin Coal, a unit of Lanco Resources Australia Pty Ltd, with 12 conditions, the environment agency said Griffin Coal's proposal to develop a coal storage and loading facility at Berth 14 A at Burnbury Port, located 175 km away from Perth, would be open for public comments till July 31 and the Environment Minister would take the final decision, according to a report by the EPA. Griffin Coal proposes to develop coal storage and loading facilities at the Bunbury Port Inner Harbour. The berth would support the export of coal from Collie Basin, where the mines are located. Griffin Coal, which was acquired by Lanco for $730 million in March 2011, produced 4 million tonnes of coal last year. A senior official of the Lanco group had earlier said the project has three components - an operating mine, development of another mine and a port. The proposal is consistent with the Bunbury Port Authority's Inner Harbour structure plan, which is being assessed separately by the EPA as a strategic proposal, EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said in a statement. The structure plan's objectives are to guide future development and decision-making within the Inner Harbour. The coal will be supplied from the proposed expansion of the company's operations at Collie Basin. The proposal includes the development of a berth pocket and associated onshore coal storage and export infrastructure. To control dust, the coal will be stored in large sheds and transferred to ships in enclosed conveyors. Vogel said Griffin Coal modified the proposal in several areas, which would allow it to meet the EPA objectives for several key environmental factors, provided the recommended conditions are implemented. The EPA decided to assess the Griffin Coal proposal at the level of Public Environmental Review with a six-week public review period due to the potential impact on biodiversity, according to the report. The area considered for assessment is the waters of the Bunbury Port Inner Harbour, including Koombana Bay, and the marine offshore waters. The EPA has recommended that the company keep the public informed throughout the dredging program by publishing on a weekly basis the actual extent of the dredge plume. This is in addition to monitoring and evaluating water quality. "Dredging during the construction phase of the proposal has a low risk of impacting marine environmental quality," Vogel said. However, there will be temporary plumes in the bay from dredging from time to time, he added. "The Griffin Coa has also ensured the presence of marine fauna observers during marine construction activities and committed to undertaking visual boat-based dolphin monitoring following construction," Vogel said.