Supporters of the mining industry came out in droves for a pro-mining car rally at Marraswah in Tasmania’s north-west yesterday.
More than 1000 people and 360 vehicles gathered at the Cruise the Tarkine protest organised by Smithton business manager Darren Pratt.
The rally aimed to illustrate to Shree Minerals and other industry investors they had backing from the community, The Examiner reported.
Attendees exchanged stories of tough times and family members shifting.
Work was halted at the Shree Minerals iron ore mine after an environmental group was granted an injunction in May.
Save the Tarkine argued work should not go ahead when a review of the approval of the mine had not been settled in court yet.
But new Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler reapproved the $20 million mine under 30 stringent conditions.
Pratt said the support came from a variety of people, which he said was “fantastic”.
“We had cars joining the convoy all the way from Smithton to Wuthering Heights, with people eager to have their voice heard,” Pratt said.
“There were a few hecklers, but you get that.
“The crowd was extremely well behaved and there was no violence – it was an incredible day.”
Politicians in attendance included state opposition mining spokesman Adam Brooks and federal Liberal candidate for Braddon Brett Whiteley.
Braddon Labor MP Sid Sidebottom could not be present due to prior commitments.
“My commitment to mining and my work toward achieving this is beyond question,” he said.
Brooks observed Labor’s absence and said it could not be depended on for mining.
The pro-mining rally comes after Save the Tarkine said they will continue with a peaceful vigil at the Shree Minerals’ mine site until they find out why the project was reapproved by Butler.
But Sidebottom said the environmentalists have exhausted all legal recourses to stop mine development in the area.
Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim respected people’s freedom to protest but asked political and community leaders to lead by example and make sure the debate was civil.
“Some of the threats that have been made recently are totally unacceptable,” McKim said.
“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that the debate does not descend into threats or violence.”
Previously, a pro-mining rally in Tullah had attracted over 2000 people, with Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings saying it was the biggest pro-mining rally ever.