WA government to spend $10m monitoring Alcoa’s mining near Perth’s dams

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Alcoa’s troubled bauxite mining in WA’s jarrah forest will have extra government scrutiny costing $10.5 million over four years as the US miner seeks to repair its tarnished environmental credentials.

The funding for the Alcoa Assurance Plan in the upcoming state budget will allow the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to check that Alcoa’s mining near many of Perth’s water supply dams meets the conditions imposed on it.

Alcoa blasting bauxite to prepare for mining near Serpentine Dam.Credit: WA Forest Alliance

Environment minister Reece Whitby said he had high expectations of Alcoa’s environmental performance and the funding would ensure it was adequately monitored.

“Let me be clear, protecting our state’s drinking water remains paramount,” he said.

In early 2023, Alcoa’s 60th year of mining in Western Australia, the miner’s reputation was rocked by revelations from this masthead.

It was reported Water Corporation was concerned Alcoa’s forest clearing risked putting Serpentine Dam out of action for years, Alcoa had piped water containing toxic forever chemical PFAS over a drinking water dam with no regulatory approval, and the miner has not completed any rehabilitation of the 280 square kilometres of jarrah forest it has mined.

“Let me be clear, protecting our state’s drinking water remains paramount.”

WA environment minister Reece Whitby

In December, the state’s independent Environmental Protection Agency decided to review Alcoa’s mining plans which are normally approved behind closed doors by a committee of bureaucrats under legislative exemptions granted to the miner.

Typically, that action would have halted all mining in the areas being assessed because it is illegal to progress any activity on new projects under EPA assessment.



This article was originally published by a www.watoday.com.au

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