Western Australia’s environmental watchdog has refused to assess a land clearing proposal by Buru Energy. The company plans to bulldoze more than 1000kms of savanna woodland in the Kimberley in order to conduct more geological surveys for gas.

The Environmental Protection Authority announced that Buru’s “Rafael” land clearing proposal would not need to be assessed under the state’s Environment Protection Act.

Buru has already cleared more than 15,000kms of grid lines through native vegetation in the Kimberley for “seismic testing”.

“We are extremely disappointed that the EPA has refused to assess landclearing of 438 hectares of gridlines, more than 1000km in a straight line - in the world’s most intact tropical savannah,” said Environs Kimberley spokesperson Martin Pritchard.  

Buru Energy - bulldozing Kimberley savannah Buru Energy - bulldozing Kimberley savannah  Photo - Martin Pritchard

“Kimberley landscapes are world famous and the bedrock of the $500 million tourism industry. People don’t come here to see a scarred landscape and gasfields, they come to see an intact landscape and rich living culture.” 

“Environs Kimberley is appealing the decision and, we are calling on the McGowan Government to protect the Kimberley from the dying oil and gas industry. Surely the WA Labor government can't be happy to sacrifice the Kimberley to gasfields?” said Mr Pritchard.

Rafael proposal background

In a recent corporate update, Buru identified options for commercialising gas from its planned Rafael project, such as:

  • Use it in a yet-to-be built petrochemical plant in the Kimberley
  • Export it via a yet-to-be-built floating gas terminal off the Kimberley coast 
  • Export it via the North West Shelf 
  • Use it for other mining operations in the Pilbara

Any of these options would require the construction of a high-pressure gas pipeline, which, along with access roads, gas wells, and compressor stations, would industrialise the Kimberley’s landscape.

Call on the McGowan government to ban fracking in the Kimberley 


Photos - Buru Energy landclearing grid - Damian Kelly

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