Westonia mine application delay raises process questions

Agricultural Region MP Darren West has defended processes that have seen an application for the Westonia mine expansion rejected.

An application to grant a clearing permit for a second pit at Ramelius Resources Edna May operations in Westonia was rejected by the Department of Mines - a move that Mr West said he had not seen before in Western Australia.

"Generally the Department of Mines lets most applications through and they often get rejected by the Environmental Protection Authority - but that was not the case," he said.

"The mines company appealed and it went through due process.

"It was decided that we cannot approve that proposal because of an endangered plant species that would be wiped out.

"The appeal didn't overturn the decision and we are now working with the applicant.

"We have encouraged them to submit a more modest application, which we will treat as a matter of priority."

His comments come after a call from Nationals WA leader Mia Davies for the state government to fast-track the approval or risk losing local jobs.

Ms Davies said more than 100 jobs across Merredin, Westonia, Mukinbudin, Nungarin, Bodallin, Burracoppin and Kellerberrin have already been lost due to delays in the granting of the application.

She said despite being elected on a promise to create local jobs, the state government had done "nothing" to stimulate employment in the Wheatbelt.

"I am calling on the government to expedite the approval process for the latest clearing application at Edna May because, frankly, if this is delayed much longer those local jobs will be lost forever, along with the flow- on economic benefits for our region," Ms Davies said.

"After submitting a significantly revised clearing plan by way of appeal in March this year, almost a year after the initial application, it was ignored by both the Environment Minister and the appeals convenor.

"That is despite the revised plan reducing the expansion area by almost 50 per cent and impacting less than 1 per cent of the local ecology."

Mr West rejected Ms Davies claim and said there was not much more the government could have done to speed up the decision.

"Of course we want the jobs, but we also have to balance up that it is a very unique part of the world and that the environment is worth protecting," he said.

"I think we have been really fair - it is a good compromise.

"I think the minister has made the right call in saying we have sympathy for what you are wanting to do - we want people in jobs in Westonia but that application didn't stand up to the processes that we have.

"Give us something more modest and we will go from there."

Mr West said an alternative application would stand a good chance of approval.

"An application that takes out some of the most contentious components will always have a better chance of success," he said.

The clearing application is part of Ramelius Resources' Edna May mine expansion plans to extract an additional $100 million of gold from the mine, which would create more than 100 jobs.