Correspondence

 

 Download: Letter to Members of Parliament 19 May 2019

Letter to Members Of Parliament

Protection of Lake Jasper and the Gingilup – Jasper Wetlands

We recently wrote to you regarding the recommendation that a mining lease be granted (pending) by the Mining Warden’s Court of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) next to Lake Jasper and within the Gingilup – Jasper Wetlands. Since then there has been some initiatives by the State Government which may lead to the protection of Lake Jasper from the threats of mining.

In a recent letter from the Premier Mark McGowan to Andy Russell of the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition, the Premier stated “I am also aware of the environmental and cultural sensitivities of the Gingilup-Jasper wetland system, and community concern for how a proposed mining operation could affect Lake Jasper and D’Entrecasteaux National Park. Changing the purpose or class of reserves involves addressing a range of matters, including native title and stakeholder input. Noting this, I can advise that processing of the mining lease application has been suspended while a greater understanding of the issues is obtained, and our intention is to reinstate this area into D’Entrecasteaux National Park.”

The Jasper – Gingilup area has been the focus of major social, cultural and environmental activism ever since the State government excised land from the D’Entrecasteaux National Park to facilitate exploration and mining next to the ecologically significant and archeologically important Lake Jasper – South West WA’s largest permanent freshwater lake.

Major mineral sand mining companies, such as Cable Sands and BeMax Mining, have investigated ways of operating a mineral sands mine within the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands and adjacent (300 metres away) to Lake Jasper. The fact this area is a wetland, underlain with high risk acid sulphate soils, part of the winter surface water catchment zone of Lake Jasper and hydrologically linked via groundwater to the Lake makes mining environmentally dangerous.

In 2010 the previous mining proponent withdrew its mining application citing the environmental problems related to acid sulphate soils that could not be overcome. Indeed, two examples highlight the pollution legacies from mineral sands mining in areas of high-risk acid sulphate soils. BHP’s Beenup mine closed due to acid sulphate contamination and other factors, caused by mining activity, that mining became untenable. Today a large acid sulphate groundwater plume exists beneath the mine-site which is moving off-site towards the Scott River. The former Jangardup mineral sands mine also has an acid sulphate groundwater plume beneath it. This is also migrating off-site towards farmland and the ecologically important Lake Quitjup.

Despite a history of community concern and care for Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands and countless previous Mining Warden’s Court hearings. The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, through the Mining Warden’s Court recommended that a mining lease be granted (pending) to Strategic Sands within the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands and adjacent to Lake Jasper without any consultation with, or notification of, past stakeholders. This highlights a flaw in the Department’s processes when historical evidence of community input is ignored to expedite a mining lease.

In 1996, the then Minister for Mines Norman Moore, made a commitment that if Cable Sands did not proceed with its proposed mine the land excised from the D’Entrecasteaux National Park would be returned to its National Park tenure – (ref: Hon Norman Moore – Hansard – 25th May 1996). The Minister restated this commitment in May 1998 (ref: Hon Norman Moore – Hansard – 27th May 1998 page 3237).

Since the previous mining application was withdrawn in 2010, we believed that previous state governments were working towards the promised objectives of returning the excised land to national park tenure. We welcome the Premier Mark McGowan’s commitment to reinstate this area into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park and look forward to the next reserves bill being presented to Parliament this year with its inclusion. Your support when this Bill is tabled is essential for the long-term protection of these Wetlands.

Thank you in advance.

Yours Andy Russell and Geoff Evans.

Contact:
Andy Russell pemhike@wn.com.au 08 9776 1559

Geoff Evans geoff.evans810@gmail.com 9848 1644  or 0488 933 828

D’Entrecasteaux Coalition Website http://savelakejasper.org.au/

 

 Download: Letter to Executive Director SER 1 May 2019

1st May 2019

Executive Director
Strategic Energy Resources Ltd

Dear Sir
Re: Strategic Sands’ ML 70/1385 (suspended) mining lease application next to Lake Jasper in WA

In August 2018, Strategic Energy Resources (SER) wholly owned subsidiary, Strategic Sands, made an application for a mining lease (ML 70/1385) at Jangardup South in South West WA.

I would like to use this opportunity to express some grave concerns the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition has about this application for a mining lease, which is within a highly significant conservation area and was until 1996 part of the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

The proposed mining lease is adjacent to Lake Jasper and in the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands. Past mining leases in this area have been strongly opposed by the conservation movement since exploration occurred in the late 1980’s.

The proposed mining lease area lies within the winter flooding zone of Lake Jasper, South West WA’s largest natural freshwater lake, and is within the important Gingilup-Jasper wetland ecosystem. Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands represent outstanding and important ecosystems and refuges for rare fauna and flora, and are recognised as such by their listing in the Register of the National Estate. Lake Jasper also represents an Aboriginal archaeological site of worldwide significance containing Australia’s only underwater prehistoric site of human habitation.

We believe it is imperative that you recognise the ecological importance of the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands adjacent to Lake Jasper in the D’Entrecasteaux National Park. This is a great opportunity for SER to  demonstrate leadership in your field by relinquishing all mineral sands mining interests in this highly contentious area.  By taking this course of action you will be demonstrating to the people of Western Australia your commitment to the environment. It will enable the conservation movement to move forward in the knowledge that the management of SER will adopt a proactive position in the  protection of the conservation estate.

I would like to further point out that high risk Acid Sulphate Soils (ASS) have been discovered at the proposed mining lease site. BHP disregarded the risk of ASS disturbance at its former Beenup mineral sands mine near Augusta (40 kilometres west) and was forced to close, ahead of schedule, after two years. (BHP’s planned mine life was fifty years). The legacy is a significant plume of sulphuric acid in the surrounding groundwater that it has to deal with. Former Cables Sands’ mine at Jangardup also has a sulphuric acid plume in the surrounding groundwater.

This is a critical time for SER to display corporate leadership and recognise the unsuitability of mining within areas of high risk acid sulphate soils especially when it is within wetlands of high ecological importance. The Coalition looks forward to hearing that SER recognises that the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands and Lake Jasper are special and unique places and will relinquish all mining lease applications over the area.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition is the peak group which has been organising the campaign to protect Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands, since 1988.

Yours sincerely

Geoff Evans, Convenor
D’Entrecasteaux Coalition

 Download: Letter to Minister for Mining 19 March 2019

19 March 2019

Hon Bill Johnston MLA
Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Industrial Relations;
Level 9, Dumas House 2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005

Dear Minister

Re: Lake Jasper and Mining Lease Application M70/1385

In relation to the application for a mining lease next to Lake Jasper the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition has noticed in recent correspondence from you the statement that there were no objections lodged to the application for Mining Lease 70/1385 (M70/1385) next to Lake Jasper. This of course disregards the community campaign run by environment, local tourism and indigenous organizations through 1996 to 2005 to protect Lake Jasper and the Gingilup – Jasper Wetlands from mining.

Far from being no objections to the mining lease community organisations are renewing the campaigning to have the ‘C’ Class Reserve, excised from the D’Entrecasteaux National Park to facilitate a miner, re-incorporated into the national park.

It is also important to determine why there was no community comment on the lodging of the mining lease to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations and Safety (DMIRS). During the former State Liberal  Government’s  roll back of environmental protection the then state government changed the system of mining lease application notification, such that these applications were no longer required to be published in local newspapers. There is now only an on-line notification system through DMIRS. Checking applications or changes to all mining tenements can only be accessed through logging-on to the Mineral Titles Online website.

In addition, the above change to the Mining Regulations (No. 4), 2012 was only published in the Government Gazette. There was no comprehensive community consultation regarding this elimination of public notification and review.

Given these changes to reporting of new mining lease applications it is easy to find why no objections to the application, (M70/1385), next to Lake Jasper were received by DMIRS.

It must also be pointed out that DMIRS and the Mining Warden would have been fully aware of the sensitive nature of any mining lease application next to Lake Jasper. This is because of the long community campaign to  protect Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands that started in 1996 and involved numerous cases at the Mining Warden’s Court.

Given the history of community concern over mining near Lake Jasper it should have been procedure for the DMIRS or the Mining Warden to have notified the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition or the state’s peak environmental body, the Conservation Council WA, of the mining lease application.

Short of restructuring the Department to make it encourage public participation, adopt precautionary principles to projects and practice key sustainability principles the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition asks that the method of notifying new mining and exploration leases by DMIRS should be improved. In addition to the current notification method DMIRS should:

  • Advertised in the local newspapers.
  • Notify individual organisations with a history of dealing with the Department on that particular lease area.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition views the above points as in keeping with the McGowan Government’s goal of open, transparent and responsive governance.

Yours faithfully

Geoff Evans                                                                             Andy Russell
Deputy Convenor                                                                 Co Convenor
For the Denmark Environment Centre                      D’Entrecasteaux Coalition

Cc Premier of Western Australia

 

 Download: Introduction to Yoondadadup Lake Jasper issue 06 Jan 2019

05 January 2019

Proposed Mining Lease 70/1385 Yoondadadup Lake Jasper

We are writing to you in regards to an urgent situation that we discovered recently. Our investigations uncovered an application for a Mining Lease by Strategic Sands P/L a wholly owned subsidiary of Strategic Energy Resources Ltd. The proposal is for a mineral sands mine in the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands on the banks of Yoondadadup Lake Jasper, southwest WA’s largest permanent freshwater lake and a significant Aboriginal heritage site.

Mining Lease ML70/1385 was considered by the Mining Warden’s Court September 2018 and having received no objections and the proponent complying with the Mining Act it was recommended a mining lease be granted but pending. The proponent must complete further requirements.

We are not sure if you know the history of this area so we have provided a brief outline.

This site has been the focus of major social, cultural and environmental conflict since 1988 when the then WA state government decided to excise land from D’Entrecasteaux National Park to facilitate exploration and a potential mine on the banks of Yoondadadup Lake Jasper.

To quote WA Parks and Wildlife Service “Explore Parks WA” Site:

“Yoondadadup Lake Jasper is the largest fresh water lake in South Western Australia, and together with Lake Wilson and Lake Smith forms part of an important wetland system. This pristine lake is situated amongst vegetated dunes and fed by an underground water supply.
Yoondadadup Lake Jasper has been recognised as one of the five most important wetlands for waterbirds in the southwest, and bird watchers will be able to see many species here. If you are lucky, you could be rewarded with a glimpse of the endangered little bittern “

The WA Museum has completed a study of Australia’s only known underwater prehistoric Aboriginal site, Yoondadadup Lake Jasper, dated at up to six thousand years old.  Again, according to the “Explore Parks WA” Site: “Erosion of sand dunes within the park has revealed numerous stone artefacts, two fish traps, two quarry sites, one mythological site and one burial site. The majority of these are located around the Yoondadadup Lake Jasper/Meerup Dunes area, an area of particular archaeological and cultural significance to the Nyoongar people. Artefacts have been found 10 meters below Yoondadadup Lake Jasper’s current water levels, indicating a number of major campsites existed here when the lake was a prehistoric forest”

After exploration licences were granted (back in 1988), major mineral sand mining companies such as Cable Sands and Bemax Mining tried to get a mine in operation on the banks and catchment zone of Yoondadadup Lake Jasper but did not proceed. Then in 2010 the last mining proponent withdrew their application due to the Acid Sulfate Soils (ASS) issues of the area adjacent to the Lake and within the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands’.

This ASS issue only began to be recognised by the WA State Government as a serious issue in the early 2000’s. Much of the D’Entrecasteaux Park and some adjoining areas including the Scott River Plain area in general are identified as having fragile soils prone to releasing damaging and dangerous sulphuric acid when disturbed and hence should not be disturbed by mining or other activities. Disturbed soils can also affect ground water supplies for agricultural and human consumption. See WA Department of Water Report no HG24 Degens and Wallace-Bell Acid Sulphate Soil Scott Coastal Plain. This shows a map and descriptions of ASS areas on the coastal plain including Lake Jasper. Also see National Strategy for the Management of Coastal Acid Sulphate Soils 2000

Beenup was a nearby titanium mine near Augusta that BHP closed due to ASS contamination of the Scott River water shed and technical issues relating to ASS and mining equipment used in the dredge pond. Environmental damage and health concerns are still an issue today at Beenup with acid sulphates leaching into the water system. Reference Hansard May 27 1998 P3238 -3244.

So despite a history of community concerns and with no apparent community consultation the Mining Warden has provisionally recommended that a mining lease be granted (pending) to Strategic Sands, a wholly owned subsidiary of Strategic Energy Resources. We are not aware of any consultation with or notification of past stakeholders, local community, indigenous community, environmental groups, local tourism associations, or Landcare groups about revisiting this major contentious environmental issue.

With a history of many mining court hearings, 100s of past mine objections, contentious state government policy changes (excising National park land), related High court decisions and Government commitments (return mine lease to National Park) – it seems unbelievable this mining application was allowed.

In 1996 the Minister for Mines Norman Moore (Liberal) promised that if Cable Sands did not proceed with a mine the excised land should be returned to its National Park tenure – (ref: Hon  Norman Moore – Hansard – 25 May 1996). The Minister also demanded that CSIRO do a detailed hydrological study and that the EPA do an environmental assessment of the proposal to mine. The Reserve Bill 36996 states that the land swap areas are to be tenured as National Park (ref: Reserve Act 1996 No 32 – Reserve No. 36996 (D’Entrecasteaux National Park). The Minister restated all these points again in May 1998 (ref: Hon Norman Moore – Hansard – 27 May 1998 page 3237).

This is a complex and historic issue. Since the mining application was withdrawn in 2010 we believed that the government was working towards its promised objectives of returning the status quo – national park tenure. We were wrong. We were initially unsure as to the reasons why the excised area was not returned to D’Entrecasteaux National Park. Recent questions in Parliament by Diane Evers MLC to the Minister for the Environment Stephen Dawson stated: In 2009–10, when the company decided not to proceed with the mining proposal, the previous government chose not to reinstate this area into the national park. Changing the purpose or class of existing reserves requires a process that addresses a range of considerations, including native title and stakeholder input. Further answers to questions resulted in some Good news. Consideration of mining lease application suspended until return of the area to National Park is considered.

Extract from Hansard [COUNCIL — Tuesday, 4 December 2018] p9086b-9087a Hon Diane Evers; Hon Stephen Dawson

MINING — GINGILUP–JASPER WETLAND SYSTEM 1299. Hon DIANE EVERS to the Minister for Environment: I refer to the response by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum to my question on 28 November 2018, referring to the “agreement, understanding or consideration that if the company did not proceed with an application to mine, any land formerly within D’Entrecasteaux National Park would be reinstated into the park”. (1) Did this occur? (2) If yes to (1), when did this occur and why is it no longer part of the national park? (3) If no to (1), why has this not occurred? (4) If no to (1), will the minister commit to honouring the previous agreement and reinstate this land into the national park? (5) If no to (4), why not? Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied: I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. (1) No. The land in question is reserved under section 5(1) (g) of the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 and is being managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. (2) Not applicable. (3) In 2009–10, when the company decided not to proceed with the mining proposal, the previous government chose not to reinstate this area into the national park. Changing the purpose or class of existing reserves requires a process that addresses a range of considerations, including native title and stakeholder input. (4) I have written to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, seeking his agreement to suspend consideration of grant of the current application for a tenement over this area until the government can fully consider the implications of mining. Once I have the necessary information, I will consider the return of the area to national park. (5) Not applicable.

Then on December 7, 2018 Diane Evers  MLC received the following email from Minister for Mines and Petroleum Hon Bill Johnston: “The Government is aware of the environmental and community concerns regarding proposed mining near Lake Jasper and has suspended the processing of the mining lease application while a greater understanding of the issues is obtained.”

We will have to wait and see the outcome of both ministers’ considerations.

Nothing has changed since Cable Sands (BeMax) withdrew the mining lease application. The excised area becomes inundated during winter. There are Acid Sulphate Soils in the area.

Points to be aware of:

  • a mining lease – M70/1385 -has been lodged over a part of the Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System;
  • there are 13 tenements between Augusta and Donnelly River;
  • many of these tenements are within the Scott River catchment;
  • acid sulphate soils have been identified within the Scott Coastal Plain and adjacent to Lake Jasper (Degens);
  • the mining lease is only 300 metres from the summer shore of Lake Jasper within the D’Entrecasteaux National Estate;
  • there was an agreement, or understanding, that if the previous mining proposal in this area did not proceed with its mine proposal that the land formerly within the D’Entrecasteaux National Park would be returned to this Park;
  • Lake Jasper is one of Western Australia’s few large freshwater lakes that is relatively undamaged by human activity, a breeding ground to 25 species of waterbird, a major nursery area for freshwater fishes and frogs under threat of extinction, and harbouring a unique array of plant species;
  • there are obvious implications to the flora and fauna of this conservation area from the invasive dieback fungus spreading due to any mining activities;
  • the Shannon and D’Entrecasteaux National Parks Management Plan 2012 notes that areas of high scenic quality such as Lake Jasper are of greatest concern in terms of visual landscape management and are the most sensitive to alteration;
  • the Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System area has been identified as having extensive acid sulphate soils, with the potential for acidification of the lake and a sulphuric acid groundwater plume due to mining disturbance;
  • past mining attempts on the Scott Coastal Plain have floundered because of environmental risks, in particular the impact of disturbing acid sulfate soils.

Given this situation, the question remains why the general public was not made aware of the submission period related to the lease application, and in any case, why this area is not protected from such a venture.

This approval has to be readdressed, it has taken the issue back 20 years to square one. This fragile and culturally significant land, the Gingilup- Jasper Wetlands and the banks of Yoondadadup Lake Jasper has to be returned to the D’Entrecasteaux National Park as was promised.

 

 Download: Letter to the Minister For Mines 30 April 2019

30 April 2019

Hon Bill Johnston MLA
Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Industrial Relations; and Safety
Level 9, Dumas House 2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005

Dear Minister

Re: Protection for Lake Jasper and Gingilup–Jasper Wetlands

The Environment Minister, Stephen Dawson, indicated in a letter to the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition that the re-inclusion of the Gingilup–Jasper Wetlands next to Lake Jasper, currently subject to Strategic Sands mining lease ML 70/1385, back into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park will occur concurrently with the State Government’s ‘Plan for Our Parks’ process.

In order to facilitate the above process, the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition considers the next important step in protecting Lake Jasper and the Gingilup–Jasper Wetlands is to have Strategic Sands, relinquish the mining lease application. The Coalition has written to Strategic Sands requesting it takes this action. This is a logical step and an act that a responsible corporate entity would take to facilitate the protection of the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands and Lake Jasper.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition requests that you as Mines Minister ensure that the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) takes into consideration the State Government’s conservation plan for this area of unique wetland and follow up the lease divesting issue with Strategic Sands.

To further ensure the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands area will not be available for any new mining applications while the State Government is preparing the ‘Plan for Our Parks’ nominations the Coalition requests that the Minister apply a Section 19 of the Mining Act over the excised area after Strategic Sands mining lease is relinquished.

The State Government’s ‘Plan for Our Parks’ seeks to ensure that WA’s unique biodiversity is protected and conserved, including threatened flora and fauna and their habitats. The Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands surrounding Lake Jasper are a major nursery area for freshwater fishes and frogs and harbours a unique array of plant species. Scientific surveys of the area have ranked the Lake Jasper environment third among the 27 south coast wetlands for species diversity and abundance.The ‘Plan for Our Parks’ is an ambitious and visionary plan and all State Government departments should assist its goal.

We look forward to working with you to ensure that the mining lease by Strategic Sands is relinquished and a Section 19 is applied and that the wetlands adjacent to Lake Jasper are returned to the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

Yours faithfully

Geoff Evans and Andy Russell

 

 Download: Letter from the Minister for Mines 17 April 2019

Hon Bill Johnston MLA
Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Industrial Relations

Our Ref: 71-10096

Geoff Evans
Deputy Convenor
Denmark Environment Centre
Geoff. evans810@qmail.com

Dear Mr Evans

LAKE JASPER AND APPLICATION FOR MINING LEASE 70/1385

Thank you for your letter dated 19 March 2019 in relation to an application for Mining Lease 70/1385 (M70/1385) at Lake Jasper; and your request for the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) to improve current notification methods for mining tenement
applications.

I have been advised that the requirement to advertise applications for mining tenements in a local newspaper ceased on the Gazettal of Mining Regulations (No. 4) 2012 on 9 November 2012. The procedure was changed following public criticism of applications not being published on the Department s website; and the need to purchase newspapers and search the public notices.

Prior to the change in procedure, the department ran public notices in newspapers adjacent to tenement application advertising for approximately six months. The public notices promoted the online facility as well as the intention to repeal newspaper advertising requirements and feedback to the proposed changes was requested from the public.

During the course of this period the only feedback received applauded the initiative to move to an online notification service that provides information in real-time.

In relation to your second point, the Mining Act 1978 (Mining Act) requires the applicant for a mining lease to serve notice on the owner and occupier of the land to which the application relates. There is no requirement under the Mining Act for DMIRS or the Warden to notify any individual or organisation with a history of dealing in a particular area, of a new application over that area of land.

Yours sincerely

Hon Bill Johnston MLA
Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Industrial Relations

Level 9, Dumas House, 2 Havelock Street WEST PERTH WA 6005 Telephone: +61 8 6552 6700

Facsimile: +61 8 6552 6701 Email: Minister.Johnston@dpc.wa.qov.au

17 Apr 2019

 Download: Letter to the Minister for Environment 12 March 2019

13 March 2019

Reference:      62-11861

Honourable Stephen Dawson MLC
Minister for Environment; Disability Services; Electoral Affairs
12th Floor, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005

Dear Minister

Thank you for your letter of 10 Jan 2019, regarding the processing of the mining lease ML 70/1385 application being suspended.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition welcomes your recent announcement by the State Government about the proposed significant expansion to Western Australia’s conservation estate and plans to create five million hectares of new WA national and marine parks and reserves over the next five years.

We believe we need to go back to the Gallop Government years to find a similar impressive initiative when the then State Government protected vast areas of Karri and Jarrah forest in the South West of the State.

The recent statement declares that the McGowan Government will work with key stakeholders to achieve these new conservation area targets. It states a comprehensive consultation process will now start with traditional owners, the resources sector, pastoralists, commercial and recreational fishers, conservation groups, local government and other key stakeholders and interest holders.

We trust you will take the initiative to secure the return of the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands area adjacent to Lake Jasper excised from the D’Entrecasteaux National Park in 1996.The D’Entercasteaux Coalition would like to work closely with the State Government to ensure the full and lasting protection of these ecologically significant wetlands, lakes and vegetation communities.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and representatives from other conservation groups and local indigenous organisations would like to meet you at the earliest possible opportunity to enable cooperation in the initiative to incorporate the excised area of the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands back into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

Confirmation of a meeting date so that we can work towards a resolution to this 30-year issue would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely

Andy Russell and Geoff Evans
For D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and Denmark Environment Centre
97761559 and 0488933828

 

 Download: Letter to the Premier 8 March 2019

Ref: 59-077620
8 March 2019

The Hon Mark McGowan MLA
Premier of Western Australia
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005

Dear Premier

Thank you for your letter of the 14 February 2019, regarding Lake Jasper.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition welcomes your recent announcement by the State Government about the proposed significant expansion to Western Australia’s conservation estate and plans to create five million hectares of new WA national and marine parks and reserves over the next five years.

We believe we need to go back to the Gallop Government years to find a similar impressive initiative when the then State Government protected vast areas of Karri and Jarrah forest in the South West of the State.

The recent statement declares that the McGowan Government will work with key stakeholders to achieve these new conservation area targets. It states a comprehensive consultation process will now start with traditional owners, the resources sector, pastoralists, commercial and recreational fishers, conservation groups, local government and other key stakeholders and interest holders.

We trust you will take the initiative to secure there turn of the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands area adjacent to Lake Jasper excised from the D’Entrecasteaux National Park in 1996.The D’Entercasteaux Coalition would like to work closely with the State Government to ensure the full and lasting protection of these ecologically significant wetlands, lakes and vegetation communities.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and representatives from other conservation groups and local indigenous organisations would like to meet you at the earliest possible opportunity to enable cooperation in the initiative to incorporate the excised area of the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands back into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

Confirmation of a meeting date so that we can work towards a resolution to this 30 year issue would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance

Yours sincerely

Andy Russell and Geoff Evans
For D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and Denmark Environment Centre

 Download: Letter from the Minister for the Environment 13 November 2018

Minister for Environment; Disability Services
Deputy Leader of the Legislative Council

Our Ref:    62-10741

Mr Andy Russell
Warren Environment Group
pemhike@wn.com.au

Dear Mr Russell

Thank you for your email received in this office on 14 October 2018 regarding mining lease application M 70/1385, which overlaps Crown Reserve 44705 managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), outlining your concerns regarding potential impacts on Lake Jasper.

I am advised that as at 21 October 2018, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety s (DMIRS) online tenement applications database indicated that this tenement has not yet been granted.

Section 23 of the Mining Act 1978 requires that mining (including mineral exploration activities) on public reserves must be carried out in accordance with the consent of the Minister for Mines and Petroleum. Section 24 of the Mining Act requires that the grant of any such consent must be preceded by consultation with the Minister responsible for the affected reserve to obtain either their recommendations or concurrence. In relation to Crown Reserve 44705, my recommendations, as the Minister responsible for reserves managed under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984, would be required prior to consent for any mining or related activities within this reserve. The recommendations of the Conservation and Parks Commission (in which the reserve is vested) would also be required.

It is my understanding that DMIRS has recently written to DBCA to commence the consultation process referred to above. Noting the environmental and cultural sensitivities in the locality affected by this application, including Lake Jasper and D’Entrecasteaux National Park, the subject application and any associated proposal for mining consent will be carefully considered by the McGowan Government, taking into account the affected values, proposed activities and the views of the community. I have requested DBCA to investigate the issues that you have raised in your correspondence.

As with previous proposals for exploration and mining in this area, any activities or developments that have the potential for a significant effect on the environment will require referral to the Environmental Protection Authority (ERA). The ERA will then determine whether an environmental impact assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 is required.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

Yours sincerely

Hon Stephen Dawson MIC
MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT

Level 12, Dumas House, 2 Havelock Street, West Perth, Western Australia, 6005.
Telephone +61 8 6552 5800 Facsimile +61 8 6552 5801 Email: Minister.Dawson@dpc.wa.gov.au

13 Nov 2018

 Download: Open Letter to MPs and Others 15 October 2018

15 October 2018

Jangardup South Mining Lease 70/1385

Dear Sir/Madam

We are writing to you in regards to an urgent situation that was discovered last week.

Our investigations uncovered a recently approved application for a Mining Lease for mineral sands in the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands on the banks of the ancient and sacred Lake Jasper.

This contentious Mining Lease ML70/1385 was passed by the Department of Mining Warden’s Court with no acknowledgement to past issues and concerns.

We are not sure if you know the history of this area so we have provided a brief outline.

This area site has been the focus of major social, cultural and environmental conflict since 1988 when the then WA state government decided to excise land from D’Entrecasteaux National Park to facilitate exploration and a potential mine on the banks of the ecologically important Lake Jasper – WA’s largest permanent freshwater lake. After exploration licences were granted (back in 1988), major mineral sand mining companies such as Cable Sands and Bmax Mining tried to get a mine in operation on the banks and catchment zone of Lake Jasper. Finally in 2010 the last mining proponent withdrew their application citing the potential environmental disaster they could not overcome involving Acid Sulphate Soils (ASS). It was declared the acid sulphate soil issues of the area were never going to be overcome as is evident at the nearby Beenup environmental disaster site. Beenup was a nearby mine that BHP closed due to ASS contamination of the Scott River water shed and ASS damage to mining equipment. Environmental damage and health concerns are still an issue today at Beenup with acidic sulphates leaching into the water system. The government has confirmed that acid sulphate soils exist at the proposed mine lease adjacent to Lake Jasper.

So despite a history of community concerns and with no community consultation the Department of Mines and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has allowed Strategic Energy Resources to have a mining lease within this sensitive and fragile lake system. We are not aware of any consultation or notification with past stakeholders, local community, indigenous community, environmental groups, local tourism associations, Landcare groups about the resurfacing of this major contentious environmental issue.

With a history of countless mining court hearings, 100s of past mine objectors, contentious state government policy changes (excising National park land), related High court decisions and Government commitments (return mine lease to National Park) – it seems unbelievable this application was allowed.

In 1996 the Minister for Mines Norman Moore promised that if Cable Sands did not proceed with a mine the excised land should be returned to its National Park tenure – (ref: Hon Norman Moore – Hansard – 25th May 1996). The Minister also demanded that CSIRO do a detailed hydrological study and that the EPA do an environmental assessment of the proposal to mine. The Reserve Bill 36996 states that the land swap areas are to be tenured as National Park (ref: Reserve Act 1996 No 32 – Reserve No. 36996 (D’Entrecasteaux National Park). The Minister restated all this points again in May 1998 (ref: Hon Norman Moore – Hansard – 27th May 1998 page 3237).

This is a very complex and historic issue. Since the mining application was withdrawn in 2010 we believed that the government was working towards its promised objectives of returning the status quo – national park tenure. Please help to rectify this issue and reopen the approval application process for comment or stop the process now.

We need to readdress this approval, and once and for all return this land, the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands and the banks of Lake Jasper into D’Entrecasteaux National Park as was promised.

Thank you in advance

Yours Andy Russell and Geoff Evans

Contact:

Andy Russell
Warren Environment Group
pemhike@wn.com.au
08 97761559

Geoff Evans
Denmark Environment Centre
98481644
0488933828

D’Entrecasteaux too Magnificent to Mine

 Download: Letter to Minister for Mines re Objections

Why were there were no objections to the Mining Lease application adjacent to Lake Jasper in the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands? Checking for new applications or changes to all mining tenements can only be accessed through logging-on to the DMIRS, Mineral Titles Online website.

The recent announcement by the Premier and Minister for Environment that the application for a mining lease adjacent to Lake Jasper and within the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands would be suspended, whilst the Government considered the important environmental, heritage and cultural significance was warmly welcomed by the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition.

The above announcement was immediately followed-up by the highly successful petition to Protect Lake Jasper, with almost 1000 signatures, which was tabled in Parliament by Hon Diane Evers. Submissions were prepared in support of the petition, which were considered by the Standing Committee for Environment and Public Affairs.

A letter received in response to the petition and submissions from Hon. Bill Johnston, Minister for Mines, stated, and ‘I can confirm that on 6 August 2018 the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations, and Safety (DMIRS) received an application by Strategic Sands Pty Ltd for Mining Lease 70/1385 (M70/1385) I am advised by DMIRS there were no objections lodged to the application and it was compliant with the Mining Act 1978 (Mining Act).”

This raises the question, why were there no objections noted from the conservation movement or community groups and individuals. When a petition six months later had almost a thousand names submitted?

During the former Liberal Government’s roll back of environmental protection, the then state government changed the system of mining lease application notification, such that these applications were no longer required to be published in local newspapers. These changes to the Mining Regulations (No. 4) 2012 were published in the Government Gazette. How many people read the Government Gazette?

There is now only an on-line notification system through DMIRS. Checking applications or changes to all mining tenements can only be accessed through logging-on to the Mineral Titles Online website.

Given these changes to reporting of new mining lease applications it is easy to find why no objections to the application, (M70/1385), adjacent to Lake Jasper were received by DMIRS.

It must also be pointed out that the Department and the Mining Warden would have been fully aware of the sensitive nature of any mining lease application next to Lake Jasper. This is because of the long community campaign to protect Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands that started in 1996, which involved over 200 registered objections at the Mining Warden’s Court.

Given the history of community concern over mining near Lake Jasper it should have been procedure for the DMIRS or the Mining Warden to notify the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition or the state’s peak environmental body, the Conservation Council WA, of the mining lease application.

Not only will the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition continue to defend the Lake Jasper environment it will now also work for changes to be made to the way mining leases are advertised to ensure that the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations and Safety is open and transparent and responsive to the community and not just the mining industry.