Minister approves iron ore mine in Tarkine

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Minister approves iron ore mine in Tarkine

AAPUpdated July 31, 2013, 8:41 am

A controversial new mine proposed for the Tarkine has been given federal approval, despite fears it threatens the local Tasmanian Devil population.

Environment Minister Mark Butler has granted Shree Minerals Limited approval to proceed with the iron ore mine affecting an area of 152 hectares at Nelson Bay River in northwestern Tasmania.

But Mr Butler says the approval is subject to 30 strict conditions.

Mr Butler says he has considered the impact the mine could have on a number of listed threatened flora and fauna species, including the devil.

He says the conditions imposed, particularly on traffic in and around the mine site, would reduce any negative impacts to local species.

“I am confident that these conditions will greatly reduce any threat by vehicles to wildlife covered by the Commonwealth legislation, including the Tasmanian Devil,” he said in a statement.

Shree must “make a substantial contribution” to Tasmania’s ongoing efforts to protect the devil, including $350,000 into research on the deadly facial tumour disease epidemic.

The Tarkine is considered one of the last areas with a devil population free of the tumour disease, which has wiped out as much as 80 per cent of the iconic species.

The company must also pay around $50,000 to a rehabilitation program for every devil it kills above two every year.

Similar conditions designed to protect the spot-tailed quoll will also be imposed.

The federal government will be hoping these conditions can withstand any further legal challenges from environmentalists, who earlier this month successfully won a legal bid to overturn approval for the mine.

Former environment minister Tony Burke’s failure to consider advice on the devil when he approved Shree’s $20 million iron ore proposal saw the Federal Court block the project.

The divisive project has also seen pro-mining rallies draw thousands to the streets in Tasmania’s northwest.

The Labor Party both locally and federally supports mining in the region, arguing it will affect just one per cent of the Tarkine.

Mr Butler said he consulted extensively with the local Aboriginal community and both opponents and supporters of the project before making his decision.

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