April 1, 2003 - The Greens (WA) have blasted Environment Minister Judy Edwards for caving in to Portman Mining over their flawed proposal for mining at Windarling Peak, near Southern Cross.

Environment Minister Judy Edwards has today allowed Portman Mining to proceed with the destruction of Windarling and Jackson, against the advice of the Environmental Protection Authority.

'To my knowledge, this is the first time the EPA has ever opposed a mining proposal. They have done this with good reason: the mine will probably lead to the extinction of rare plant species, and it will permanently ruin the spectacular ironstone ranges which have enormous significance to Indigenous people.'

'Portman Mining have repeatedly upgraded capacity at their Koolyanobbing plant to the point where resource shortages have forced them into a crisis position of having to mine Windarling immediately or go broke,' Mr Chapple said. 'Now we are told this beautiful area is to be permanently disfigured because Portman has mismanaged its resource.'

'This mine only has a few more years left in it either way, but extinction is forever,' Mr Chapple said. 'The Minister for the Environment has failed in her duty of care to the environment of Western Australia, and ignored the advice of the EPA on the one occasion where it has been prepared to make a strong stand in defence of a unique landform and its plant communities.'

Mr Chapple and colleague Dee Margetts MLC for the Agriculture region have raised a number of serious issues in Parliament that Portman may have understated the Indigenous significance of the area. The company sacked its first anthropologist when it realised he had been told by regional Aboriginal people that Windarling was an important site. Portman's eventual report makes no mention of sites at Windarling.

Mr Chapple has promised to pursue all avenues to ensure the protection of Windarling and the surrounding environment.

Go to top