Monsters of Rock: EPA gives green light for Rio Tinto mine in test for new leadership
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Now, with a new development on the horizon at its Greater Paraburdoo Iron Ore Hub in the Pilbara, the new leadership ushered in after the roundly condemned blast at the Brockman iron ore mine has an opportunity to demonstrate a path forward for its relationship with traditional owners.
The test will come in the shape of the development which was recommended for approval today by WA’s Environmental Protection Authority.
The initial public environmental review was submitted by Rio shortly after the Juukan Gorge blast in May 2020, but has been substantially changed since to account for new heritage considerations.
It comes after Rio Tinto and the Yinhawangka traditional owner group announced a landmark Social, Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the Western Range project at the Paraburdoo hub earlier this year.
Since floating the initial proposal Rio Tinto has excluded or modified a number of satellite pits and pit crest that could have impacted on rock shelters.
Rio says it is in consultation with the Yinhawangka people over 87 identified sites that will be directly or indirectly impacted by the mining proposal and that there will be so direct impacts on 9 sites of significance identified by the traditional custodians, with the exception of surplus water discharges to Six Mile Creek, Seven Mile Creek and Pirraburdu Creek.
Among the conditions imposed by the EPA are enforcement of Aboriginal cultural heritage protection in line with the SCHMP, to “avoid, where practicable, and otherwise minimise direct and indirect impacts as a result of implementation of the proposal to Yinhawangka cultural heritage values within and surrounding the development envelope.”
Developments like Western Range, the first renewal of Rio’s Pilbara iron ore business to go for approval since the 43Mtpa Gudai-Darri mine, are important for the company which has struggled to hit internal growth targets in recent years.
The company has a long term aim of producing between 345-360Mt a year of iron ore from its Pilbara mines, but has routinely missed guidance.
Along with maintenance, Covid, port and ramp up issues at Gudai-Darri, revised mine plans to avoid a repeat of the Juukan Gorge tragedy have also had an impact on the mining giant’s output.
Tietto Minerals (ASX:TIE) says it remains on track to deliver first gold at its 3.45Moz Abujar gold mine in Cote d’Ivoire by the end of 2022.
In the latest milestone for the emerging gold miner, work has begun to build its processing plant on site with its carbon in leach tank being erected and all parts for its SAG mill in Abidjan, the country’s capital, ahead of installation in July.
Tietto MD Caigen Wang said the construction remained on schedule and budget despite inflation and supply chain issues across the world.
“Construction is in full swing at Abujar, which has potential to be one of the largest producing gold mines in Côte d’Ivoire, expected to produce more than 260,000 ounces of gold in the first year and 1.2M ounces of gold in the first six years,” he said.
“Construction is starting to go vertical on site and I look forward to providing further updates as construction advances the Abujar Gold Project towards first gold by the end of Q4 CY22 to become West Africa’s next operating gold mine.”