The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) said the recommended approval of BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s outer harbour development, which includes rail and ore stockpile facilities as well as a four kilometre jetty offshore of Finucane Island, could be implemented with rigorous conditions to limit environmental impacts.


EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said that the process of assessing the proposal, particularly its impacts on local marine habitat, fauna and marine environmental quality, had proven complex.


The EPA has drawn up a set of comprehensive environmental conditions, including measures to limit the impact on marine habitats, as a recommendation to ensure environmental objectives are met.


The proposal also includes a large marine dredging campaign, which is expected to take about four years to complete and involves the dredging and disposal of about 42 million cubic metres of sediment.


“The EPA has found that the dredging campaign could be managed in a way that is unlikely to compromise the ecological functioning of the marine environment locally and regionally,” Dr Vogel said.


The EPA also recommends that the ongoing regulation of dust and noise emissions can be most effectively managed under Part V of theEnvironmental Protection Act 1986 and in accordance with the Port Hedland Air Quality and Noise Management Plan.


The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two week public appeal period closing February 6, 2012.


EPA Report 1427 is available at