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Ministers assessment published
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Background

Proponent: Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd

Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd proposes to develop the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project which has an approximate area of 1,675 hectares and is located approximately 20 kilometres north-west of Bairnsdale in East Gippsland, Victoria.

The proposal includes:

  • the development of a mineral sands mine
  • two mining unit plants
  • wet concentrator plant (comprising mineral separation processing and tailings thickening and disposal plant)
  • water supply infrastructure
  • tailings storage facility
  • additional site facilities, such as a site office, warehouse, workshop, loading facilities and fuel storage.

The proposed mining methods involve open pit mining to extract approximately 170 million tonnes of ore over a projected mine life of 20 years to produce approximately 8 Mt of mineral concentrate. Mine products are proposed to be transported via road or by rail for export overseas.

The mining project would require up to 9,000 kilovolt-ampere (kVA) of power likely to be supplied from the electricity grid and annual water requirements of approximately 3 to 4 gigalitres.

Minister's assessment

On 21 November 2021, the Minister for Planning completed his assessment under the Environment Effects Act 1978. This concluded the environment effects statement process for this project.

Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd, as proponent, and statutory decision-makers received the assessment to inform approval decisions.

The Commonwealth Minister for the Environment received the assessment to inform her decision about the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Minister’s assessment concludes that the environmental effects of the project are unacceptable.

Public review and inquiry

Inquiry and advisory committee

The Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project Inquiry and Advisory Committee was appointed by the Minister for Planning on 30 August 2020.

The committee submitted its report on 30 September 2021 in accordance with the Terms of Reference.

Exhibition

The environment effects statement, together with the draft planning scheme amendment and the EPA Works Approval Application, were publicly exhibited for comment for 40 business days, from 3 September 2020 to 29 October 2020.

Amended procedures and requirements

On 19 July 2020 the Minister issued amended procedures and requirements under the Environment Effects Act for the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project EES. The amended procedures and requirements relate to the public exhibition and inquiry stages of the EES process, and provide for special measures to be implemented in light of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions that apply under Victoria's state of emergency. In particular, they provide for interested people to register to obtain their own copies of EES documentation, in the absence of the usual public display of hard copies at physical exhibition points, and confirm the extended public exhibition period from 30 to 40 business days. The Minister has also given direction about the possible use of technology such as video-conferencing for hearings of the inquiry.

The Minister issued his original procedures and requirements in December 2016 when he decided that an EES was required. The original procedures and requirements appear on this website in the Minister's Decision section below.

EES preparation

Consultation plan

Kalbar has prepared a communication and consultation plan for the EES, outlining the opportunities and approaches for their community engagement during the preparation of the EES. The plan has been refined following advice from the department and Technical Reference Group and is published on this web page. Kalbar welcomes community input on the plan at any time. The consultation process may be adapted or modified to meet changing community needs and requirements.

Technical reference group

DELWP has convened an inter-agency technical reference group at the request of the Minister for Planning to advise DELWP and the proponent on scoping and adequacy of the EES studies and documentation, as well as coordination of the EES process with other statutory processes for the project.

The government organisations represented on the technical reference group are:

  • DELWP - Impact Assessment
  • DELWP - Region & Biodiversity
  • Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources (Earth Resources Regulation)
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Aboriginal Victoria
  • Heritage Victoria
  • EPA Victoria
  • Parks Victoria
  • East Gippsland Water
  • Southern Rural Water
  • West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority
  • East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority
  • VicRoads
  • East Gippsland Shire Council
  • Wellington Shire Council

Technical reference group representatives are supported by internal experts on specific aspects of the EES studies.

Scoping requirements

The Scoping Requirements set out the matters to be investigated and documented in the EES. Draft Scoping Requirements for this EES were on public exhibition between 13 September 2017 to 6 October 2017. After considering public submissions on the Draft Scoping Requirements, the Minister for Planning issued final Scoping Requirements in April 2018.

To assist with the interpretation of the final scoping requirements, please view questions and answers containing guidance on their development.

Project contact

If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch via the contact details below.

Proposed Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project
Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd - Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project
☎ Phone: 1800 791 396 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm)
✉ Email: contactus@fingerboardsproject.com.au

Page last updated: 21/02/24