Forge Resources Swan Pty Ltd proposes to construct and operate the facility at Balla Balla, midway between Port Hedland and Karratha and northwest of Whim Creek in the Pilbara.
The facility will enable Forge to export about six million tonnes of magnetite concentrate product per year from their approved Balla Balla Magnetite mine site, southeast of the proposed export facility.
A seven-kilometre low-pressure slurry pipeline will transport the magnetite concentrate from the minesite to the stockyard where it would be
dewatered and stored.
An overland conveyor would transport the material from the stockyard across tidal flats via a causeway, with the conveyor continuing along a 2.6km long trestle jetty to a loading wharf situated in 10m deep water.
Self-powered barges will transfer the material to a vessel moored approximately 20km offshore in deep Commonwealth waters.
EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said several environmental factors were considered during the proposal’s assessment, including potential impacts to benthic communities and habitat such as mangroves and algal mats, marine fauna including turtles, dugongs and Humpback whales, marine environmental quality, flora and vegetation.
Dr Vogel said the EPA considered the proposal could be managed to meet the EPA’s environmental objectives if the nine recommended conditions were implemented.
Dr Vogel said it was imperative that impacts from marine pile driving operations to dugongs and marine turtles were minimised.
“The EPA has recommended marine fauna observers maintain a log of cetaceans, dugongs and marine turtles, with no pile driving construction permitted until the observer has verified that no cetaceans or dugongs are within a radius of 1000m or marine turtles within a
radius of 300m during a twenty minute period prior to construction,” he said.
Other conditions include measures to minimise impacts to benthic primary producer habitats as well measures to avoid the introduction of marine pests into Western Australian waters including a monitoring program prepared in consultation with the Department of Fisheries.
A Vegetation Management Plan will also be required to demonstrate terrestrial infrastructure has been located to minimise direct and indirect impacts on Department of Environment and Conservation listed Priority Ecological Communities of good or very good condition.