CCWA: Golden Gecko Awards a public relations exercise for environmental disasters

Conservation Council of WA media release:

Western Australia’s peak environment group today questioned the credibility of the Golden Gecko awards for environmental management in the mining and petroleum industry. The awards were announced last night by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Hon. Norman Moore.

Conservation Council Director Piers Verstegen said “Three of the projects that have received Golden Gecko awards are operating in areas that should be off-limits to the mining industry.  (Barrow Island, pristine Irvine Island in the Kimberley and Jack Hills mine in the ecologically unique banded ironstone ranges)

“Two of these projects were rejected by the EPA as environmentally unacceptable. (Chevron Barrow Island LNG plant and Pluton resources mining on Irvine Island)

“The EPA ruled against Chevron’s massive LNG development on Barrow Island, only to have their advice overturned by Government. Since then the project has had an appalling environmental record including numerous quarantine breaches, killing endangered turtles, and most recently the sinking of a service vessel carrying hundreds of liters of diesel.”

“Irvine Island in the Kimberley is another area where mining should not even be considered.”

After the Conservation Council appealed this project, the EPA stated in formal advice to the Appeals Convenor:

Given the very high conservation values on and surrounding the island, and the currently near-pristine condition of the area, mining is seen as inappropriate

“The idea that these projects should be given environmental awards suggests that the Golden Gecko awards are little more than a public relations exercise.”

“In a previous year the Esperance Port Authority received a Golden Gecko award for dust management before they went on to contaminate the town of Esperance with lead dust.”

“Perhaps these awards should be re-named the Golden Gecko Awards for environmental incompetence in the minerals industry” concluded Mr. Verstegen.

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