THE closure of a Cervantes lime pit by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has raised questions as to the effectiveness of communication between government departments.
While the Agriculture Department invests significant funds into a Time to Lime campaign, the DEC has prohibited AgLime Cervantes from continuing it operations at the site because of concerns over the clearing of vegetation on sand dunes to mine the lime.
The vegetation conservation notice issued to AgLime last week says the company must ensure no unlawful clearing takes place on the land.
DEC told Farm Weekly the notice did not prevent AgLime from continuing operations as long as it did not clear any more land.
But AgLime principal Steve Carr said due to a decision to clear as it worked, the company had been forced to close the pit while DEC considered the practices, because it had no uncleared space left to mine.
“In 20 years of mining this site I think we have cleared something like 12ha in total,” Mr Carr said.
“The application asks for a clearing permit for the remaining 7ha and that is where we have come to a halt.”
Mr Carr said he was concerned a precedent could be set and other lime mining sites could be affected.
“The Agriculture Department estimates that the state needs 1.5 million to 2m tonnes of lime per annum,” he said.
Mr Carr said it was frustrating that one Government department was promoting the use of more lime in WA and another was blocking access to it.
“The Agriculture Department’s Wongan Hills Research Station has already called us wondering what was going on and whether it would be able to source lime from the pit,” he said.