CAPE Alumina Limited (CBX) will review all of its Cape York operations after the State Government today declared the Wenlock River as protected land.
The Wenlock River will be included under the Wild River Declaration area with the clause that no mining be allowed to take place within 500 metres of the Coolibah Springs.
CBX managing director Paul Messenger says the company will review its proposed Pisolite Hills bauxite mine, which the companies’ studies show would boost GDP by $1.2 billion over 15 years.
“Our Pisolite Hills mine and port project, as it presently stands, is no longer viable – the Queensland Government’s declaration of the Wenlock River Basin as a wild river area may have rendered this project uneconomic,” he says.
“Our environmental studies show that a 200 metre buffer around the Coolibah Springs Complex would protect the natural environmental values of the springs.
“In the meantime we will stop all work on the project’s EIS (Economic Impact Study) pending the outcome of the review.”
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson, says the river is one of Australia’s most spectacular assets, with the highest number of freshwater fish species out of any Australian river, as well as palm cockatoos, riflebirds and the amethystine python in surrounding areas.
“Under the declaration, the natural values of the wild river area have been formally identified so that this precious part of the world that has been mostly untouched by development can be protected for generations to come,” he says.
“To gain approval for any mining leases in Queensland, companies have to undertake a rigorous Environmental Impact Assessment, and this remains the case for any mining leases applications in the declaration area.
“It is up to the companies to determine if they still wish to pursue mining lease applications for the remaining area they have been exploring in.”
The State Government had received around 4,000 submissions requesting the river basin be nominated for declaration in December 2008.
The market has not yet responded to the reviewed project though, as CBX shares remained flat today at 40 cents.
Rio Tinto Limited (RIO) also has interests in the area.
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