100+ jobs at risk in Wheatbelt: Davies

More than 100 jobs in the Wheatbelt are at risk after the McGowan Labor Government put the brakes on expansion of the Edna May mine in Westonia.

Local MP and Leader of The Nationals WA Mia Davies said a clearing application appeal for Ramelius Resources’ Westonia Greenfinch pit project was dismissed by the Government this week.

Ms Davies said the decision would cost jobs and hurt the region’s economy.

“The clearing application is part of Ramelius Resources’ Edna May mine expansion plans to extract an additional $100 million of gold from the mine, which would create more than 100 jobs,” she said.

“After submitting a significantly revised clearing plan by way of appeal in March this year, almost a year after the initial application, it was ignored by both the Minister and the appeals convenor.

“That is despite the revised plan reducing the expansion area by almost 50 per cent and impacting less than 1 per cent of the local ecology.”

A statement to the ASX released by Ramelius Resources on Wednesday said the Environment Minister’s request for another clearing application would delay the mine’s expansion by at least six months.

Ms Davies said the Environment Minister needed to step in and rectify the assessment anomaly to alleviate the threat of job losses in the region.

“The Edna May operation employs more than 200 people, a quarter of which are from Wheatbelt towns of Merredin, Westonia, Narembeen, Mukinbudin, Nungarin, Bodallin, Burracoppin and Kellerberrin,” she said.

“I urge the Environment Minister to do everything within his power to fast-track the latest appeal Ramelius Resources has been forced to lodge.”

Ms Davies said the McGowan Government’s delay to Edna May’s expansion, along with its late 2017 decision to deny Mineral Resources’ request to extend Carina operations in the Helena Aurora Range went against its job creation policy.

“The Edna May expansion has been sidelined while the company behind the proposal is forced to re-submit its plans and now faces a detrimental blow-out in timing, thanks to sloppy handling of the assessment by government agencies,” she said.

“Along with the rejection of Mineral Resources’ Jackson 5 and Bungalbin East project proposals in December 2017, the State is losing more than $1 billion in revenue generation.

“Together these decisions have spelled the end of 500 jobs in the Central Wheatbelt electorate. It seems the McGowan Government’s mantra of creating jobs applies only to the metropolitan area.”

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