As of 20/11/2013

FARA has continued to press its concerns regarding the applications to mine and prospect, detailed below. We have been communicating with Minister for the Environment Hon. Greg Hunt and have been advised he will schedule a visit to the Burrup in 2014.

FARA has written to the federal department and to Premier Colin Barnett asking how it could be possible to lodge applications in such culturally sensitive areas. The Premier’s response is not encouraging. It begins by talking about the protection offered by the newly (January 2013) declared Murujuga National Park and then goes on to enumerate how, despite this, approvals for mining may be given.

Before any approvals will be given for activities, an Environmental Officer from DMP [Department of Mines and Petroleum] will consult with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, PAW [Department of Parks and Wildlife], and the Environmental Protection Authority. Where the proposed activities are significant, they would be referred to the Commonwealth Department of the Environment for assessment and approval.

In addition it should be noted that the Burrup peninsula is protected by a ‘section 19 exemption’ created under the Mining Act. The section 19 prohibits the application for mining tenure unless the application is invited by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum pursuant to section 19 (4) of the Mining Act. Additionally, an area encompassing Dampier, Karratha and east to Point Samson is the subject of two Ministerial Temporary Reserves that require the approval of the Minister for State Development prior to the grant of a mining tenement over these reserves…

Unfortunately FARA’s observation is that industry players are adept at navigating their way through these intended controls, particularly given the weakness of Western Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage legislation. We have written again to the Premier and will continue to monitor this issue closely.

As of September 4 2013

Burrup Materials withdrew its application to mine in the area. It’s not clear what prompted this withdrawal but hopefully the significant opposition that has been expressed to this move may have had some influence. However, the two applications for prospecting licenses remain.

FARA’s concern is that this area is even available for applications to be lodged. This area MUST be designated part of the National Park and protected from further interference by industrial interests of any kind.