The Stockman Project has progressed through the latest stage of regulatory assessment, with a Work Plan approval by Victoria’s mining regulator for the site near Benambra in East Gippsland.
The approval includes stringent safeguards to protect the water quality of Straight Creek, a tributary of the Tambo River and the Gippsland Lakes. Water quality monitoring has been undertaken since 2006 and this will continue.
In approving the Work Plan, Earth Resources Regulation has also set conditions that require the licensee, WHSP Stockman, to meet native vegetation, dam safety and site rehabilitation requirements.
There are several more checkpoints that WHSP Stockman must pass before it can begin mining operations, including consulting the EPA and East Gippsland Water so that water quality standards can be set to maintain existing background conditions in the upper Tambo River.
Additionally, WHSP Stockman will be required to lodge a multi-million-dollar rehabilitation bond for the site. A 2017 agreement also requires the licensee to fund ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the site after mining and rehabilitation works have been completed.
An Independent Technical Review Board has been established to ensure that environmental and engineering standards are met, helping to underpin community confidence in the safeguards that are in place.
The Stockman project received planning approval in 2014 after a detailed Environment Effects Statement and public consultation process.
The project is expected to create 300 jobs during the construction phase and a 250-strong workforce once the mine is operational.
The mine aims to target high grade copper and zinc resources, which are in high demand to build electric vehicles, solar and wind generation equipment and a wide range of household and manufacturing uses in Australia and globally.