Helena Aurora Range (Bungalbin)

Helena Aurora COThe beautiful and accessible Helena Aurora Range (Bungalbin) is located in the Great Western Woodlands of W.A. about 300km NE of Perth. The Range is known to wildflower groups, bird people, bushwalkers, conservationists, 4WD groups and the tourism sector. It has previously been recognised as warranting future National Park status. The ‘J5 and Bungalbin East’ Iron Ore Project has now been proposed for the area by miner Polaris. If the mining is allowed to proceed it will destroy major parts of the Range itself.

In April 2015 W.A.’s Minister for the Environment overruled the State’s Environmental Protection Agency (‘EPA’) recommendation that the proposal be rejected as environmentally unacceptable. The miner’s proposal is now being re-assessed under a Public Environmental Review process which is expected to take 1-2 years. Continuing strong opposition to the mining is needed to help ensure the mining does not go ahead.

Our Club’s online submission to the initial EPA review included the following statement (in part):

“….Through their bushwalking experiences our members have a keen awareness of the need to fully and securely protect areas with outstanding conservation and heritage values so they can be experienced and enjoyed by future generations, not just our own. The Helena Aurora Range (‘Bungalbin’) is clearly such an area.
Mining in the area must be considered environmentally unacceptable for the following reasons:

    1. The proposed mines are within the main Helena Aurora Range. The EPA has previously recommended this area become an ‘A Class’ Nature Reserve protected from mining (EPA Bulletin 1256, 2007);
    2. The topography, flora and fauna of the Helena Aurora Range in toto has exceptional and unique aesthetic beauty that must be protected to be appreciated by future generations. Members of our Club who have walked in the area have been profoundly impressed by this beautiful environment;
    3. This is one of our State’s last opportunities to protect intact such an ancient, banded ironstone range environment;
    4. The areas proposed for actual mining include native plant species unique to the area, and very significant Aboriginal heritage sites;
    5. The range is recognised by the Authority to be “one of the more significant biodiversity assets in WA” (EPA Bulletin 1256, 2007);
    6. The mining proposal clearly falls within the EPA’s four published criteria for ‘environmentally unacceptable’. In particular the planned mines would destroy the unique environmental value of the Range. The mines would have enormous visual impact and would be irreversible on a landscape scale leaving deep mine pits in place of the hills, plus extensive waste rock dumps;
    7. The EPA itself has previously stated it is “adopting a presumption against any further development of those parts of the range…..” (EPA 2012-13 Annual Report).

We fear that despite the obvious high conservation values of the area, such an apparently remote area, out of the eye of the general public, could too easily fail to receive the full and secure protection it requires. We trust that will not be allowed to happen.”

Additional information: