THE Tasmanian Mineral Council would not support any restrictions on mining activities in the Tarkine, executive director Terry Long said yesterday.
He was responding to an article in the Weekend Australian in which federal Environment Minister Tony Burke supported a ”balanced approach” to development of the area for which he is considering heritage listing.
Mr Long said minerals found in the Tarkine should be able to be extracted, describing the potential restriction of mining in areas that did not impinge on the Tarkine’s conservation values as ”a fairly woolly concept”.
”We reject any further restrictions on access to land in Tasmania,” Mr Long said.
”We have a more-than-adequate reserve base, far in excess of any other state and, in fact, any other similar-sized area in the world.
”It’s been a mining field since the 1800s and there have always been exploration activities in that area – it’s not a new thing.
”The Mount Bischoff tin ore body mined there until the middle of the 20th century, generating the cash flow that allowed Launceston to rise from a country town to a city.”
Resources Minister Bryan Green said mining was a key industry for Tasmania’s economic prosperity and the government was proactively seeking investment to promote wealth-generating opportunities for the state.
”The government is absolutely committed to supporting investment and jobs in our mining sector,” Mr Green said.
”There is no way the government would compromise Tasmania’s mining potential, including heavily mineralised areas in the North-West and West Coast . . . and it is opposed to a blanket National Heritage listing of the Tarkine area.
”It is well known that I have made representations to the federal Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, regarding the proposed listing because of its importance to mineral exploration and the potential negative social and economic impacts on the Tasmanian economy.”
Opposition industry spokesman Peter Gutwein said the Greens would never be satisfied.
”As long as activity (including open-cut mining) is lawful and meets current environmental requirements we support investment and the jobs it would create,” Mr Gutwein said.
”This area, which is rich in minerals, is not a national park nor is it world heritage listed and therefore it is available for mining exploration and extraction and this should be encouraged to occur.
”Mr Burke should stop pandering to the Greens in his inner-city electorate and the Premier should stop pandering to the Greens in her cabinet.
”They should tell the country that more than 40 per cent of the state is already locked up and allow Tasmania to generate much-needed investment and jobs from the natural resources we have.”
This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.