BHP Billiton’s proposal for expansion of iron ore mine in the Pilbara region in Australia has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Western Australia Government, according to news reports.

Through the assessment process, the EPA was able to consider the cumulative impacts of BHP’s future proposals, rather than assessing impacts on a case-by-case basis, as individual mines or developments are proposed, said EPA official.

Meanwhile, another iron ore mining company, Fortescue Metals Group, on Friday decided to review expansion plans in the region after an indigenous group informed that the project threatens sites of cultural significance.

According to new reports, the expansion plan of Queens mine is a part of Fortescue’s Solomon project that includes around 70 heritage sites.

The decision comes after iron ore producer Rio Tinto blew up a 46,000-year-old sacred site in Western Australia in May that caused global outrage.

The company is also preparing to test whether its iron ore mine in Christmas Creek can work on solar power alone. 

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