Action taken to reduce Ellendale’s environmental risks

DMP carries out on-ground works to manage environmental and safety risks at the Ellendale Diamond Mine
Date: Monday, 18 April 2016

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has taken action to ensure the Ellendale Diamond Mine site is safe, stable and non-polluting.

Since December, the department has carried out a range of activities in order to manage the site’s environmental and safety risks and ensure that it remains viable for responsible resource development in the future.

This has included a clean-up of the area, the removal of hydrocarbons, hazardous materials and contaminated soil, repairs to the Tailing Storage Facility and ensuring that access to the site is restricted.

Extensive consultation with stakeholders including local government, the police, pastoralists and other interested parties has supported this work.

DMP’s Acting Executive Director Environment Karen Caple said the work carried out to date aimed to ensure the value of the tenements was not affected.

"The Ellendale Diamond Mine remains a viable resource project and it is highly likely that mining will occur at this site in the future," Ms Caple  said.

"The ground works which have been undertaken over the past few months have addressed the immediate safety and environmental risks and will help to protect the value of the remaining resources on site for future development.

"With the majority of ground works at the site now complete, DMP's focus has turned to managing access to the site, erecting appropriate signage and liaising with those who purchased equipment via the liquidation process.

"A monitoring plan will also be implemented to ensure the site remains safe, stable and non-polluting until a new tenement holder takes over the operation."

The Ellendale Diamond Mine is located approximately 120km east of Derby in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia.

It was the first site to be gazetted under the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act and was the first pilot site for the department’s Abandoned Mines Program.

"The immediate availability of funds from the Mining Rehabilitation Fund allowed the Western Australian Government to take swift action at Ellendale to prevent environmental harm," Ms Caple said.

"This world-first security model has ensured that the State’s communities have not, and will not, have to pay for the rehabilitation activities at Ellendale or any other abandoned mining operation in the future."

Unauthorised access to the Ellendale site is prohibited and trespassers will be prosecuted.

An information sheet providing an update on the work carried out at Ellendale is now available on DMP’s website.