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South Australia Premier Mike Rann has made a visit to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary to mark the introduction of laws to permanently ban all mining in the area.
The legislation will be introduced this week, which Rann has earmarked as some of his final business before stepping down.
According to ABC News Rann saw the protection as one of his most important final acts as Premier.
“There’s 600 kilometres squared of extraordinary beauty that needs to be preserved and protected forever,” he said.
The new laws will ban all types of mining at Arkaroola, and also provisionally list the area on the state heritage register.
Future nominations will recommend Arkaroola for national and world heritage listings.
The protection move comes four years after exploration waste was dumped in the area by Marathon Resources.
Marathon has spent millions of dollars exploring the region, and its investors have not reacted well to the mining ban.
The company is currently in negotiations with the SA Government for compensation.
SA environment minister Paul Caica told ABC News the ban was an important move in protecting the area.
“Anything we can do to heighten people’s awareness of this beautiful place and get them here will be a good thing,” he said.