Federal government reviews rejected Kalbar mineral sands mine proposal

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The federal government is considering a controversial application for a mineral sands mine in eastern Victoria that was rejected by the state government last year.

On November 24, Victoria Planning Minister Richard Wynne announced that the request to build a 1,675 hectare mine near Glenaladale in East Gippsland would not be accepted.

Mr. Wynne said in his reasoning that the proposed mine “would pose a significant risk to the environment and the valuable horticultural industry”.

The proposed mine, which planned to extract zircon and rare earths, was located near 12 intensive horticultural farms in the Lindenow Valley.

The state’s rejection came after an independent panel spent more than a year reviewing the environmental effects statement prepared by Kalbar Operations on the proposal which included 10 weeks of hearings.

The mine faced opposition from the East Gippsland Shire, who later revealed that it had spent more than $ 1 million to fight it, mostly in legal fees to represent its point of view during the hearings.

The mine, if approved, would be close to productive agricultural land.(ABC News: Tim Lamacraft)

But the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment has confirmed that it is considering the rejected application under Commonwealth law.

Kalbar was approached by the ministry for information on 41 points of her candidacy.

“Additional information has been requested from Kalbar Operations to inform a decision on whether or not to approve the action under the national environmental law,” a spokesperson for the department said.

The approval would be “highly irresponsible”

Mine Free Glenaldale spokeswoman Debbie Carruthers said the Commonwealth appeal was unlikely to be successful as the state government manages most environmental laws and regulations in Victoria.

Debbie Carruthers stands in front of farmland.
Debbie Carruthers, who coordinates Mine Free Glenaladale, says approving the project would be “irresponsible”.(ABC Gippsland: Rio Davis)

“It would be highly irresponsible and unacceptable for the Federal Minister to ignore the decision that was taken by the [Victorian] Minister of Planning, “said Carruthers.

“Kalbar must accept the arbitrator’s decision and close this proposal.”

Kalbar did not respond when contacted for comment.

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