Cape Alumina say mining ban is bad for foreign investment

Cape Alumina says the decision to ban mining over the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve has alienated foreign investors from China, Korea and Japan.

The company suspended all work on its Pisolite Hills bauxite mine and port project last month after the government declared the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York as Queensland's first strategic environmental area.

In announcing the move, the company said it would undertake a full review of all its other operations in Queensland.

Managing director Graeme Sherlock said the company would sit down with Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney to discuss the impacts of the government’s decision, ABC reported.

Sherlock wants clarification on how the newly released Draft Cape York Regional Plan will affect its Bauxite Hills project, north of Mapoon.

"We have requested meetings with the Deputy Premier and Premier and if we can sit down and try to find a path forward for the company and find a way that we can at least bring online our other bauxite projects up in Queensland," he said.

Cape Alumina said it would review its legal rights and may challenge the government’s decision.

"In respect to the Pisolite Hills mine and port project, obviously it's very difficult to seek legal compensation from the Government but we have to exhaust all avenues and look at that in the interest of our shareholders,” he explained.

The company said it has spent more than $20 million on developing the $1.2 billion project, stating that the government did not need to make the move to ban mining.

Sherlock said the decision has caused ire among foreign investors, making the region look unattractive.

"It is a big blow to the reputation of the Government and also our company because we've been out there going to bat with the support that it's going to give everyone a fair go.

"We've also really alienated our Chinese investors and supporters of the company but not only that, we also had Korean and Japanese interests that were being advanced, so it is a big blow."

In announcing the decision, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said it would protect Queensland’s most environmentally significant areas.

“When finalised, this declaration will protect these unique areas from open cut and strip mining, and other activities that risk widespread impacts to their ecological integrity.” Newman said.

“We plan to offer similar protections to environmentally important areas across Queensland under legislation to be introduced into State Parliament today by my colleague the Deputy Premier.”

Bindi Irwin said she was “thrilled” over the move to ban mining her late father’s wildlife reserve.

“This is probably the greatest day of my life so really happy, completely amazed and just, wow,” she said.

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