Cowper calls on Environment Minister to can sandworks

Murray Cowper.

Murray Cowper.

Member for Murray-Wellington Murray Cowper has called on Environment Minister Albert Jacob to declare tangible progress in or close down MZI Resources Mineral Sands processing operation in North Dandalup.

Mr Cowper said the company has refused to comply with noise and dust regulations, which had been raised by local residents years ago.

He said environmental problems continued to increase at the North Dandalup site to the point where adjoining landowners were considering legal action against the business.

A number of key environmental agencies under the Minister’s control had failed to resolve the matter, despite clear evidence of breaches in noise and environmental regulations.

“Opposition to this mine by the Shire of Murray and other parties was overruled in favour of MZI by the State Administrative Tribunal two years ago, resulting in unbearable problems for adjoining landowners ever since,” he said.

“The inconvenience to neighbouring farmers has apparently been ignored by Government agencies, despite the fact that this company has also managed to avoid paying royalties to the State on the mineral sands it is extracting.”

Mr Cowper said he had written to Mr Jacob expressing his concern over continued complaints from neighbours over noise and dust pollution, and urged him to close down the operation until the company could demonstrate its ‘ability to comply’.”

The MZI processing operation opened in 2011, amongst vocal opposition from Mr Murray, then-Member for Canning Don Randall and the Keysbrook-North Dandalup Action Group.

Adjoining landowners had also protested against the operation since 2011, with the State Administrative Tribunal decision in 2015 dealing a major blow and delaying action.

MZI hit peak operation at the Keysbrook mine late last year, with more than 12,000 tonnes of zircon exported in December and expansions continuing this year.