iron ore mine

Located 75km north-west of Newman, the Hope Downs mine includes open-cut mine pits and associated infrastructure.

The mine, which started production in November 2007, would be expanded to include the Baby Hope proposal, which includes three water table open pits, associated waste rock dumps, stockpiles and haul roads.

EPA chairman Dr Tom Hatton said that the proposal could be managed to meet the agency’s environmental objectives.

"The EPA has recommended that this proposal be approved, subject to a further set of conditions."

"In addition to the existing conditions in the ministerial statement, the EPA has recommended the proponent ensure all areas within the development envelope are rehabilitated and decommissioned to restore ecological sustainability."

Additionally, the EPA recommended the Hamersley HMS, which represents the JV partners, to contribute funds to a government-established conservation fund in order to alleviate residual impact of clearing up to 800ha of native vegetation in ‘good to excellent’ condition.

The final decision, however, will be taken by the minister for environment.

The Hope Downs is one of 12 iron ore mines operated by Rio Tinto Iron Ore in the Pilbara.

Comprising six mineralized zones, the Hope Downs mine currently has is currently producing 31.4mtpa of iron ore from open-pit operations.

Image: Hope Downs is one of 12 iron ore mines operated by Rio Tinto in the Pilbara region. Photo: Copyright © 2014 Rio Tinto.