MINING operations in Tasmania’s Tarkine region face renewed opposition from conservationists with the announcement of Federal Court action against the approval of Nelson Bay River mine.
Environmentalist group Tarkine National Coalition (TNC) announced the move on 5 April against Federal Environment minister Tony Burke’s approval of the Shree Minerals mine.
TNC campaign coordinator Scott Jordan said Mr Burke had endorsed the mine without knowing the potential impact on the endangered local Tasmanian devil.
“The TNC believes that the minister has erred in law, and is challenging the decision to approve the mine despite known impacts on the Tasmanian devil, a Commonwealth-listed endangered species,” Mr Jordan told The Advocate.
“We will argue that Minister Burke has not acted in accordance with the provisions of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and, as such, the approvals granted are invalid.”
Shree received Commonwealth Government Approval for the Nelson River project in December last year.
“A new mine in North West Tasmania will provide very significant social and economic benefit to the region,” Shree chairman Sanjay Loyalka said.
The TNC and partner Groundswell Tasmania also held a protest at the gate of the proposed Venture Minerals Stanley River mine.
Forty protestors gathered outside the mine gate with banners and Mr Jordan said they would be there every step of the way to make sure the mine did not go ahead.
Debate erupted over the application for mining developments in the Tarkine in Tasmania’s North West last year, with Mr Burke rejecting a National Heritage listing for the area.
On 8 February, Mr Burke announced that only the indigenous values of the Tarkine would be included on the National Heritage List.
“Tasmania has the highest unemployment rate in Australia and this region has the highest unemployment rate in Tasmania,” Mr Burke said.
“I simply haven’t been able to find a way to recognise the natural heritage values with a boundary that will find a balance. For this reason I have decided to only put the indigenous values on the National Heritage List.
“I have visited the Tarkine twice over the past year; I have met with local mining and industry groups to understand the economic development issues of the region and I camped with environment groups.
“I was expected to see a pristine area pretty much covered in rainforest. “The truth of the industrial history and current industrial activity in the Tarkine is quite different to those images.”