Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project.

If you have a question that isn’t answered here, we encourage you to submit it using this form.

You don’t have to give us your contact details, but if you do, we will let you know when the answer to your question is published.

Questions

EES Exhibition

The EES will be exhibited for 40 business days.

When the Minister is satisfied that an EES is adequate, it is normally released for public exhibition and comment for between 20 to 30 business days. The Minister has seen fit to extend exhibition to 40 days for the Fingerboards Project.

Amended procedures and requirements have been issued by the Minister for Planning under Section 8B(5) of the Environment Effects Act 1978.

Under the declared state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, conventional exhibition of environment effects statements (EES) is not possible. Physical display of printed copies of the EES in public places cannot occur.
The procedures and requirements applying to the EES, issued on 18 December 2016 are amended as follows.

  1. The EES is to be exhibited for a period of 40 business days for public comment, or such other period as the Minister may subsequently direct in writing.
  2. No less than two weeks before the first day of the public exhibition period, the proponent must place notices in newspapers and on-line, as well as communicate with known interested parties, to:
    1. Foreshadow the intention to commence formal exhibition;
    2. Note the impossibility of providing exhibition copies for physical inspection at public exhibition places;
    3. Describe intended on-line availability of the EES and related documentation for exhibition purposes; and
    4. Invite any potential submitters to register to receive EES documents on USB, or other electronic media, and for those who may have accessibility issues or, where electronic options are impracticable, in hard copy.

Other directions have been given in relation to public notifications, charges for documents and dispatch of documents. This information is available from Kalbar or on the Fingerboards Project website.

As per the Ministerial Guidelines, exhibition of the EES will allow for access to documentation by interested members of the public.

The Minister has specified that Kalbar shall invite any potential submitters to register to receive EES documents on USB, or other electronic media, and for those who may have accessibility issues or, where electronic options are impracticable, in hard copy.

Where hard copy documents are reasonably requested, Kalbar must provide hard copies of:

  1. The EES summary document and mapbook free of charge, and the EES Main Report for a modest charge aligned with postage costs, unless instructed otherwise by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Director Impact Assessment;
  2. Other EES attachments or EES technical appendices, subject to payment of an appropriate fee, having regard to costs of printing and postage and the circumstances of the request, unless instructed otherwise by DELWP’s Director Impact Assessment; and
  3. The Environment Protection Act 1970 works approval application, unless instructed otherwise by the Environment Protection Authority.

EES Preparation

An Environmental Effects Statement (EES) is required by the State Government in accordance with legislation.

Scoping Requirements for the EES were set by the Minister for Planning following public input.

Comprehensive technical studies have been undertaken by independent technical experts to assess all potential impacts and identify measures to avoid, minimise and mitigate any potential impacts.

Key technical studies, such as Water, Air Quality and Rehabilitation, have undergone independent peer review.

The EES has been overseen by the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning, with input and advice from a Technical Reference Group made up of all relevant government agencies and authorities.

  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Melbourne and Gippsland Offices)
  • Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • Environment Protection Authority
  • East Gippsland Shire Council
  • Wellington Shire Council
  • East Gippsland and West Gippsland Catchment Management Authorities
  • VicRoads
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Aboriginal Victoria
  • Heritage Victoria
  • Parks Victoria
  • East Gippsland Water
  • Southern Rural Water
  • Agriculture Victoria

The EES process is essentially a risk-based impact assessment – the two methods of assessment used in the Fingerboards EES are compliance assessment and risk assessment.

Compliance assessment is based on EPA guidelines and a qualitative risk assessment has been used where compliance criteria are unavailable or inappropriate for the assessment of impacts. In a qualitative assessment, the risk of environmental and socioeconomic harm is assessed/evaluated using a combination of likelihood and consequence.

Designing and planning the controls that are applied to manage those risks is the next step. Those controls are known as “mitigations” or “management” controls and they are used to “minimise” or remove the risk. There is a chance that a “mishap” could occur. The impact of that “mishap” is measured via the risk assessment process. If we “mitigate” and “manage”, then we will “minimise” or remove the chance of that mishap happening. The EES also assesses the residual impact after mitigation measures have been implemented.

Project Description

The mineral resource estimate of the Fingerboards Project contains 1.19 billion tonnes of ore at 0.5% zircon, 1% titanium minerals and 0.1% rare earths.

Kalbar plans to mine from areas of enriched grades, occurring close to the surface within the Fingerboards resource area. Only the higher grade and more accessible parts of the ore body will be mined. Kalbar plans to produce over 8 million tonnes of heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) from 170 million tonnes of ore over a 15-20 year period.

A mineral sands mine is different to most other types of mining. Although the size of the deposit is large, only a small area is excavated at a time, with previously mined areas undergoing back-filling, topsoil replacement and revegetation.

The sequence of mining is:

  • Topsoil and overburden stripping
  • Ore mining
  • Backfill
  • Rehabilitation
  • Revegetation

At any one time, the total area being mined is approximately 120 hectares.

At any one time, the total area disturbed due to mining, including mining infrastructure and tailings storage, is approximately 360 hectares.

The mine pit will have an average depth of 29 metres and a maximum depth of 50 metres.

Economic Impact and Employment

The Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) is a technique for assessing the economic merits of an initiative or course of action (such as undertaking a mining investment) from the perspective of society as a whole. The CBA follows the guidelines released by the NSW Government in 2015 (there are no Victorian guidelines). The CBA compares all costs and benefits attributable to the initiative, discounted to a common point in time, to arrive at an overall assessment of whether the initiative is ‘net beneficial’, that is, whether society will benefit from its implementation. A project is net beneficial if the Net Present Value (NPV) of the sum of benefits minus the sum of costs is greater than zero.

The Table below outlines the NSW framework.

See the table below which outlines the evaluation approach for each category of cost.

Yes, all direct costs, including rehabilitation and closure, are included in the Cost Benefit Analysis.

Yes. A sensitivity analysis of the Cost Benefit Analysis was conducted for the key assumptions used in the modelling. Even under the most pessimistic scenario, the net benefit to the Victorian community was $289.3 million in Net Present Value terms.

Yes, the assessment does recognise the potential impact of labour competition on other industries (e.g. agriculture).

Both regional and state impact are assessed in the economic modelling. Over the period 2020 to 2035, the Project is projected to increase Gross Regional Product (GRP) in the East Gippsland region by just over $1.4 billion in NPV terms. The projected increase in Gross Regional Income (GRI) over the same period is projected to be just over $2 billion in NPV terms, while the increase in employment in the region averages 93 FTE. For Victoria as a whole, over the period 2020 to 2035, Gross State Product (GSP) is projected to increase by just under $1.6 billion and Gross State Income (GSI) by $2.4 billion in NPV terms. The overall increase in Victorian employment is around 110 FTE on average over the period.

The project is expected to generate direct employment for 200 people during construction and 200 people during operations. Operation will be 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week and will be split into shifts.

Kalbar aims to employ local people in the construction and operation of the project. We anticipate that about 80-85 percent of the 200-strong workforce will be sourced locally as the skills required are available locally. There are a number of roles that are specialised in nature and may have to be filled by people from outside the region.

Yes, we can source sufficient skilled workers from East Gippsland – there are many transferrable skills within the region and we have already been working with local skilled workers for some time - many work packages and jobs have already been awarded locally. Where we see gaps in skills we are prepared to train and develop workers to utilise them for our activities.

Dust

Air quality monitoring and chemical analysis has been undertaken to detect and measure crystalline silica, heavy metals and radionuclides.

Chemical analysis and quality assurance plans have been developed in accordance with Australian Standards.

Chemical analysis of the topsoil, overburden and ore body at the site demonstrates that levels of radiation and heavy metals are within safe levels, as defined by Australian Standards.

Kalbar will use industry techniques to manage dust. These include:

  • watering haul roads
  • transport and process ore as a slurry (via pipeline)
  • minimising overburden haul distances and drop heights
  • limiting vehicle speeds
  • use of suppressants
  • minimising open areas
  • rehabilitating mined areas as quickly as possible
  • modifying mining practices according to weather and proximity to sensitive receptors

Mine planning and predictive weather modelling will schedule certain activities to avoid excessive dust emissions during forecast adverse weather conditions. Under certain weather conditions, activities may need to be reduced or stopped.

The weather station has been established in accordance with the requirements of a Level 1 assessment as specified in the Protocol for Environmental Management (PEM) for Mining and Extractive Industries as well as relevant Australian Standards. Kalbar has installed an Australian Standards compliant weather station. The data is compared to readings taken by the BOM weather stations located at Mt Moornapa and Bairnsdale airport.

Kalbar will be required to limit dust levels at sensitive receptors (e.g. nearby residences) and avoid any potential impacts on crops. Limits include PM10 (50 ug/m3 as a 24-hour average) and PM2.5 (25 ug/m3 as a 24 hour average). Dust deposition will also need to be controlled to less than 2 g/m2 per month above background readings (averaged over 12 months). The air quality assessment conducted as part of the EES shows that Kalbar can operate within these limits using the management practices listed above.

Magnesium chloride or commercial products such as DustMag ™ or Dustworx ™, which are polymer-based dust suppressants.

The weather station measures wind speed and direction at 10 metres above ground, minimising the impact of variations in terrain. The modelling conducted accounts for a range of weather events, including wind speeds and directions measured over a year. The modelling predicted that with routine management, and additional dust mitigation on some days, dust levels would comply with relevant air quality criteria at the nearest sensitive receptors. Management of dust emissions from the mine during operations would be informed by the use of real-time dust monitoring around the mine and weather forecasting. This would identify periods in which additional management measures would need to be taken on-site under such events in order to minimise or prevent emissions of dust. These systems will be in place throughout the mine life.

Base line air quality monitoring will continue at the Fingerboards project area. Continuous air quality monitoring will be conducted during operations at locations near sensitive receptors but monitoring locations will change in conjunction with the mine path and depending upon the locations of mining activities with respect to receptors. It is expected that continuous monitoring will occur at three to four sites within the project area at any given time.

Monitoring during operations will occur within the project area, as Kalbar will need to manage dust levels at sensitive receptors adjacent to the mining activities. Mine management practices will manage the levels of dust for the nearest receptors, which in turn safeguards any receptors further away.

As part of our baseline studies and EES, Kalbar has conducted water quality testing on nearby rainwater tanks (and dams). This monitoring program will continue during construction and operations. We will have an ongoing monitoring program to check water quality relative to pre-mining. Our obligation is to prevent (via air quality management) this from becoming an issue. If there are any water quality incidents, Kalbar will ensure nearby residents have access to safe drinking water.

Eleven properties were surveyed. These properties are located to the north, east and south of the project area. Ten properties are located within two kilometres of the proposed project boundary and one property is between two kilometres and three kilometres.

As part of our baseline studies and EES we are conducting water quality testing on nearby rainwater tanks (and dams). During construction and operations, we will have an ongoing monitoring program to check water quality relative to pre-mining. Our obligation is to prevent (via air quality management) this from becoming an issue. If there are any water quality incidents, Kalbar will ensure nearby residents have access to safe drinking water.

The processing of the ore to concentrate results in all the minerals within this product having a grain size of greater than 40 microns. In addition, the minerals within this product are dense (about twice the density of sand). Furthermore, the stockpiles of product will be damp, as they are dewatered from the wet concentrator plant. Kalbar intends to locate the Wet Concentrate Plant and concentrate stockpile within an existing blue gum plantation. The surrounding trees are expected to act as an effective windbreak for the concentrate stockpile area. Kalbar therefore is confident that product concentrate will not be dispersed beyond the product stockpile area.

The word respirable refers to particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter. This classification is important as these smaller particles can travel deeper into the lungs than larger particles and, therefore, are potentially more likely to affect health.

Particles larger than this are not classified as respirable crystalline silica.

Silica is silicon dioxide, which is abundant and naturally occurring in rocks and soils. Silica comes in crystalline and non-crystalline forms. The most common form of crystalline silica is quartz.

The maximum concentration of PM2.5 predicted was 23.4, which is 65% of the air quality criteria. For respirable crystalline silica, the maximum concentrations were predicted to be below the air quality criteria.

The potential impact of the project on air quality during operations was determined through a dispersion modelling study, which included site-specific meteorological, terrain and land use data as well as the geographical location of sensitive receptors.

Over twelve months of meteorological data were generated using measurements from the onsite meteorological monitoring station supplemented by the CSIRO’s TAPM Model (The Air Pollution Model). Ground-level concentrations of pollutants were predicted at sensitive receptors and across a Cartesian grid of points using the AERMOD dispersion model, which is the approved model for regulatory applications in Victoria.

The potential cumulative impact due to the project and existing ambient levels of air pollutants has been quantified using the dispersion modelling and ambient background concentrations derived from data from the on-site ambient monitoring program.

For PM10 and PM2.5, measured 24-hour average concentrations have been used as a contemporaneous background for the model period.

Dust control measures have been determined through the assessment via consideration of best practice approaches and dispersion modelling results.

Soils / Rehabilitation

The Haunted Hills Formation (HHF) overlies the Coongulmerang Formation (the ore bearing sand).

The HHF comprises of layers of silty dispersive clay and sandy gravel. Flow of water, gradient of the land form, soil chemistry and vegetation influence the landscape’s resistance to erosion.

Controlling these factors during rehabilitation will allow a more stable landscape to be established post mining.

This detailed information will be exhibited with the EES as part of the Landform, Geology and Soil Investigation and Geochemistry and Mineralogy Summary Reports.

Soil sampling was conducted over a two-year period to understand the composition, drainage and fertility of the soils.
Samples were taken from seventeen hand auger cores and twenty sonic cores up to two metres deep over the project area for the Landform Report. A further 25 samples were taken for the Geochemistry Report.

These are present in topsoil and subsoil. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungi is important and present in both subsoil and topsoil. When plants begin to grow, the fungi will reactivate and propagate.

This is generally called progressive rehabilitation. It means that rehabilitation follows closely after mining, and the area rehabilitated each year is generally about the same as the area disturbed for mining. This is regarded as best practice for a number of reasons, including:

  • Regular rehabilitation works develop and retain trained staff
  • Ensures that areas done at any one time are not large and any failures are readily repaired
  • Over time, methods are refined, equipment is optimised and readily available, and
  • The area to be rehabilitated at closure is relatively small.

Some components of a rehabilitated area such as large trees may take many years to fully develop.

Consequently, there has been a lot of work to develop methods for assessing whether a rehabilitated area is on a reliable trajectory to rehabilitation success.

How soon an area can be considered “rehabilitated” depends on the complexity of the ecosystem being established. A simple grassland with scattered trees may take three to five years to demonstrate successful rehabilitation, whereas a complex forest ecosystem may take ten to fifteen years – and much will depend on climate and soils.

Yes, that is Kalbar’s goal. Approximately two thirds of the proposed mine footprint is currently grazing pasture, and the aim is to restore those areas to a similar vegetation type. However, on other areas where there is currently forestry plantation, or steeper eroded slopes or road verges, there is the opportunity to restore the types of native communities that might have existed more than 200 years ago.

For example, the aim is to restore at least 200 hectares of Gippsland grassy redgum woodland at Fingerboards. If successful, this would be a great achievement because that is a nationally threatened plant community.

The aim is to return as much native diversity as possible – meaning hundreds of species. The ultimate aim is to create a landscape that incorporates productive agriculture, and resilient and diverse native communities, which represents an improvement on the land’s current form.

The restored native grassy woodland will represent a significant biodiversity, cultural and amenity asset to the region. It is likely that the company will enter into discussions with government agencies or community groups with respect to taking over the management of this area post mine closure.

All commitments and liabilities will pass on to the new owners in the event of the project or company being sold. A rehabilitation bond is required by the Victorian government to ensure that there are funds available for rehabilitation and closure in the event that a company is unable to meet these commitments. Any new owners would be required to secure this bond in the event of the project being sold.

Biodiversity

Field investigation commenced in June 2016 and multiple field surveys have been undertaken to document the flora and fauna values across the project area. This involved detailed native vegetation assessments, targeted surveys for significant flora and fauna species (e.g. Masked Owl, Giant Burrowing Frog and Australian Grayling) and ecological communities, an assessment of Ground Water Dependent Ecosystems and several detailed offset investigations.

Any project across Victoria with a proposed impact on native vegetation must comply with State guidelines and Federal legislation under the EPBC Act. Kalbar is required to satisfactorily demonstrate that the biodiversity offsets required for the project can be obtained. There is a range of state offsets required for the Fingerboards Project and these offsets will be secured prior to vegetation removal during each stage of the Project.

There are two types of biodiversity offsets required for the project:

  1. under the Commonwealth EPBC Act, and
  2. under the State government’s Native Vegetation Policy (the Guidelines).

The Commonwealth offset calculator is used to generate the total offsets for the EPBC Act-listed vegetation community. The area of proposed removal is used in the calculator together with several criteria regarding the proposed offset site(s).
Offsets are calculated by using the extent and quality of each Ecological Vegetation Class that has been obtained during detailed field assessments within the infrastructure layout. The spatial data is provided to DELWP and they provide a report known as the Native Vegetation Removal report that states the offsets that are required for the project.

A desktop assessment was undertaken for these areas. These areas will be formally assessed prior to any proposed removal should the project be approved. Any significant ecologies values (e.g. significant vegetation communities or presence of significant flora and fauna species) will be considered as part of any impacts to these areas.

Investigations relating to the establishment of the 200 hectare grassland/grassy woodland is ongoing. One option is to have a security agreement (e.g. Section 173 Agreement, Section 69 Agreement or a Trust for Nature Covenant) over this area so that it is permanently protected and managed in the future.

Irrespective of the owner of the project (i.e. now and in the future), there is a requirement under both Commonwealth (EPBC Act) and State (the Guidelines) legislation and policy that offsets need to be secured and managed for the Project prior to the removal of native vegetation during the life of the project (offsets will be staged according to the mine staging plan). This will be a condition of the project being approved.

Directly placing topsoil or keeping topsoil stockpiles below two metres in height maintains oxygen and water to keep the microbes alive.

The New Holland mouse was targeted in our Detailed Ecological Investigations via remote camera survey, habitat assessments and active searching. No sightings of the New Holland mouse were recorded.

Fauna salvage and relocation/translocation procedures will be developed and implemented to support the biodiversity management plan.

Hollow bearing trees will be retained where possible, salvaged, or artificial hollows will be installed (under the supervision of an ecologist) in retained vegetation adjacent to the project footprint where hollow-bearing trees are lost.

Some installations (including artificial) are planned well in advance of works commencing. Species tend to use artificial hollows that have entrance sizes just sufficient for their body size, and this guides hollow design.

Artificial hollows offer an interim solution to hollow shortage and their full potential is realised when preferences for different designs are better understood. Artificial tree hollows (nest or roost boxes) are of considerable importance to the conservation and management of hollow-using birds and fauna.

Water

The dams are for management of rainfall runoff, and run-off flows downhill to gullies. Gullies are perfect places to capture the water that comes off the site as they are convenient and logical places where water flows down-hill. Water is stored until it is cleaned and suitable for release, or stored for re-use around site in areas such as dust control, supplying revegetation, and a range of other purposes.

Yes, there are safeguards.

Surface water –a winter fill licence is sought where water will only be taken during periods of high flow. The licence has restrictions even during that period. If passing flow reduces below 1,400 megalitres per day, the extraction stops. Typically, farmers and other year-round licence holders will still have access to water below that level and they still continue to extract water per their licence conditions.

Groundwater – the system is already allocated. Approval from Southern Rural Water would be required to secure an allocation from another user who is willing to sell their entitlement. In conjunction with that approval for a groundwater licence, modelling confirms that if that process is approved and groundwater is extracted, there will not be interference with other nearby users.

Hydraulic modelling predicts that between 130 ML/year and 270 ML/year may be prevented from reaching the Mitchell River. This equates to approximately 0.01% of annual flow volumes for the Mitchell River. This is a small volume but to really remove any impact at all, offset water is retained in dams. Ultimately, there will be no net-annual loss of water entering the Mitchell River as a result of the water management dams. This is because Kalbar has committed to offsetting the same volume of run-off retained in dams with fresh water that is stored onsite.

Impacts to surface water (extraction and storage) and groundwater (ASR - Aquifer Storage and Recovery) at Woodglen Reservoir have been assessed as insignificant within the EES.

Daily rainfall data (January 1901 to December 2017) was obtained from the Bureau of Metrology (BoM) rainfall station for Lindenow Station (Station Number 085050).

Lindenow Station was selected as the most appropriate weather station for daily rainfall records because of its proximity to the project area and the long duration of rainfall records available. Lindenow Station is located 10 kilometres east of the project area.

Although Mitchell River at Glenaladale (Station Number 085270) is in closer proximity to the site (approximately four kilometres away), rainfall records for the site commenced in December 2000. Records for the Lindenow Station commenced in 1897.

Water management dams will be constructed downstream of areas being actively mined to prevent run-off from entering the Mitchell River, Perry River, or the Gippsland Lakes.

Modelling shows that the water management system may be exceeded by extreme rainfall events at a frequency of approximately once every 100 years to the Perry River catchment, and approximately once every 50 years for the Mitchell River catchment.

In the unlikely event that run-off does enter the downstream environment, water quality modelling indicates that this would not have a measurable effect on the quality of water in the Mitchell River or Gippsland Lakes.

Extractions from the Mitchell River will occur with licence conditions set by Southern Rural Water. Kalbar will apply for a licence to take water during winter periods when the river has flows above a minimum threshold.

Kalbar’s licence will not allow water to be taken from the Mitchell River during low flow periods – so flows to the Gippsland Lakes will be maintained.

Rainfall run-off captured in the water management dams will be either diverted around the site and released to the environment, or offset from the clean water storage - so the operation of the water management dams will not result in a reduction of flow in the river.

Cultural Heritage

The investigations so far have included survey and subsurface testing. The results have broadly supported the model with the majority of artefacts (n=191) found on the dunes, 66 artefacts within the alluvial terraces and fans and 85 on the upper planar surfaces.

The Fingerboards Project is required to prepare an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) under the Act prior to the issuing of permits that will allow the project to commence its operation.

A CHMP (ID 14969) is currently being prepared. The CHMP will continue to investigate the presence/absence of Aboriginal heritage sites through:

  • Field assessments, both surface and subsurface
  • Refinement of the site predictive model
  • Continued consultation with the Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP)

After approval for the CHMP is obtained, the Project must comply with all CHMP conditions that may include site-specific and general management conditions to be implemented before the project commences, during the project and after the project has ended (as appropriate).

The project must also implement contingency measures (chance finds protocols) that provide clear instructions that must be followed in the event that aboriginal cultural heritage places or materials are discovered during the construction, operation or decommissioning of the project.

The site predictive model identified areas of high ridges (which are the remnant dunes), several alluvial terraces and fans along the incised gullies as well as the interface between the upper planar surfaces (the large flat areas) and the steep gullies (directly overlooking the gullies) as areas most likely to contain aboriginal heritage places.

Cultural Heritage Management Plan. This is a requirement when certain high impact activities are planned in an area of high cultural sensitivity or where an EES is required.

The CHMP is defined by the aboriginal heritage regulations to the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

It is a written report by a heritage adviser that includes results of an assessment whether desktop, subsurface testing, or survey, or all three.

A CHMP outlines conditions the sponsor has to fulfil during and after the activity.

Generally speaking, an approved CHMP is not a requirement of the EES but a demonstration that a CHMP is underway is required. A CHMP is required to be approved before a works plan is granted by Earth Resources Regulation (ERR). If the Fingerboards Project gets through the EES gate, the next step is to apply for a mine work plan and that does require an approved CHMP. Kalbar is now working at finalising the CHMP.

Noise

Noise modelling undertaken as part of the EES, indicates that the Fingerboards project will be able to meet the noise criteria at the nearest residences for both day time and night time operations. Monitoring will occur at nearby residences to ensure compliance. Activities will have to be managed to ensure noise compliance.

Continuous noise monitoring will be conducted during operations at locations representative of sensitive receptors (monitoring locations will change, depending upon the location of mining activities).

The Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA) is the guiding legislation by which Kalbar is licensed and has an obligation to meet specific conditions through an approved work plan.

Other departments and agencies within the Victorian government have a level of regulatory responsibility for mining, including the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) who regulate pollution; WorkSafe Victoria, who enforce Victoria's occupational health and safety laws and help organisations avoid workplace injuries; and Local Government who are responsible for implementing the Victorian Planning Provisions in their local government area. The EPA will regulate noise and air quality.

Continuous air quality and noise monitoring will be conducted during construction and operations at locations representative of sensitive receptors (monitoring locations will change, depending upon the locations of mining activities).

Roads, Traffic and Transport

As the EES studies have developed and the Avon River Bridge upgrade has become a reality, the preferred transport option is via a dedicated private haulage road to a new rail siding at Fernbank East. This preferred transport option avoids risk to pedestrians and other road users from heavy vehicles transporting the heavy metal concentrate, as well as affecting fewer noise sensitive receptors. This option also avoids the use of local roads and travel through towns.

The cost of any road construction or modification required for the Fingerboards Project will be met by Kalbar and has been factored in to the economic assessment of the Project. Kalbar will contribute financially to the maintenance of these roads. Our first preference is to construct and maintain a private haul road.

The South Gippsland Highway and Port Anthony have been considered in the EES studies. It is worth noting that these options no longer constitute part of the preferred transport option.

East Gippsland Shire Council and Regional Roads Victoria are both represented on the Technical Reference Group guiding the EES process.

During construction

  • 2 years
  • 130 workers on site on a typical day, across two 12-hour shifts
  • 150 return trips per day (20 heavy + 130 light vehicles)

During operations

  • 15 years
  • 120 workers on site on a typical day, across two 12-hour shifts
  • 160 return trips per day (40 heavy + 120 light vehicles)

Port of Melbourne.

Landscape and Visual

The analysis process, which assessed views from rural residences, found that for the majority, views would be either filtered or significantly screened by vegetation surrounding the residence.

The assessment found that only a few houses would experience a high level of impact during the time that the mining activities traversed the area adjacent to the property.

The level of visual impact would drop quite quickly once amelioration measures were established. Even the initial covering of grass would be highly effective. Views would be possible as residents and visitors travelled on roads throughout the area when the mining activities were proximate to a particular viewpoint. However, the duration of the view would be likely to be no more than 30 seconds to a minute.

As such, apart from designated tourist routes, the level of impact was found to be low. Visual amelioration bunds are to be constructed where the proposed activities are adjacent to tourist routes. The bunds are to be revegetated and, once again, the establishment of a grassed surface cover would be highly effective at reducing the visual impact of the exposed soils.

A key aspect to reduce all impacts is ensuring that progressive rehabilitation is implemented and the sooner that rehabilitation is undertaken, the sooner the visual impacts will fall away. Once the rehabilitation is undertaken, the mine moves on and the visual impact is short-lived.

Fire Management

Kalbar will manage fire response within the project area during the life of the project. This will involve the development and implementation of a fire management plan (FMP) which will cover risk mitigation strategies, equipment needs, resourcing and actions. After operations, the management of fire risk will be undertaken by the relevant land manager (Kalbar or other).

Landholder Impacts

Directly impacted landowners will be compensated by Kalbar as per the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA).

As mineral sands mining moves through the landscape, so too does the rehabilitation process behind; meaning that disruptions to farming operations are by no means permanent, and through careful planning and management, can be sustained.

Aside from where infrastructure (roads, rail siding, etc) is planned, Kalbar intends to have farmland back to full production within three to five years of mining. During that period it is possible (if the landowner chooses) for Kalbar to find suitable land for stock and grazing either on the project area or elsewhere.

Agriculture

Based on technical expert report assessments and review of case studies, it has been concluded that farming will overall not be affected. Agriculture and the mineral sands mine can co-exist.

Mitigation actions are designed to negate impacts.

Horticultural enterprises may experience reduced access to labour due to competition created by the project’s workforce requirements. This would only apply to jobs where the same skill sets are required.
Dust deposition modelling indicates that deposition rates within horticulture production areas comply with relevant air quality criteria.

Some local vegetable growers expressed concern about the potential loss of produce value and market due to damage to the region’s reputation for producing high quality produce. Analysis of public perceptions and buying habits indicated that the residual risk of potential losses of value and income as a result of the project is low.

Sensitive Receptors

A sensitive receptor is a land use or activity that has the potential to be affected by environmental impacts such as noise, dust, etc. Sensitive receptors will differ depending on which environmental impact is being assessed, but may include dwellings, schools, recreation areas, community buildings, etc.

Kalbar has identified the sensitive receptors relevant to each of the EES studies. These EES studies include, but are not limited to:

  • Noise and vibration
  • Air quality
  • Visual and landscape
  • Human Health
  • Traffic and transport

While there are many overlapping receptors, not all receptors are relevant to all the studies. There is no universal set of sensitive receptors. For example, there are a number of sensitive receptors relevant to traffic and transport, which are not relevant for air quality or visual and landscape. The map showing residences and receptors is a public document and we are confident that we have not missed any relevant sensitive receptors for each of the specific EES studies.

Enforcement

Enforceable penalties will be applied as per the conditions of our mining license under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA).

Have an unanswered question? Please let us know.