Environment Minister re-approves Shree Minerals’ Tarkine mine

The new Federal Environment Minister has re-approved Shree Minerals’ controversial iron ore mine in the Tarkine region after a court rejected the project earlier this month over concerns for the endangered Tasmanian Devil.

Environment Minister Mark Butler has approved the $20 million project subject to 30 strict conditions.

Shree Minerals’ plans to develop an iron ore mine in the region were halted earlier this month after the Federal Court ruled former environmental minister Tony Burke failed to give “genuine consideration'' to conservation advice on the endangered Tasmanian devil.

Butler said after considering the impact the development might have on a number of flora and fauna species he has “imposed conditions that I am confident will protect those species”.

He said the conditions on traffic in and around the mine site would reduce any negative impacts on the Tasmanian Devil.

The conditions include prohibiting travel to and from the mine site outside daylight hours (except for emergency vehicles), a reduced speed limit, regular clearing of road ways and surrounding verges, and clear signage.

Butler has also said all staff members are required to travel to and from the site on a bus.

“I am confident that these conditions will greatly reduce any threat by vehicles to wildlife covered by the Commonwealth legislation, including the Tasmanian Devil," Butler said.

Butler has also ordered Shree Minerals to make a ‘substantial contribution’ to ongoing efforts to protect the animal, including a contribution of $350,000 to conservation efforts.

The company will also be charged $48,000 for any Tasmanian Devils killed by vehicles if the number totals more than two in a twelve month period.

Similar conditions have also been imposed to protect spot-tailed quolls and wedge-tailed eagles.

The group who initially took the fight to the Federal Court, Save the Tarkine, have previously vowed to fight any decision to allow the iron mine to go ahead.

"If they're not going to treat it seriously then we'll go back to the court and ask the court to make a new ruling," spokesman Scott Jordan said.

Debate continues to rages between environmental groups who want mining developments halted and companies and potential employees who say opening up the Tarkine to mining is crucial to the future economic prosperity of Tasmania.

A pro-mining rally to show support for the industry was held in May, drawing over 2000 people in Tullah.

However anti-mining activists have vowed to fight any new mine approvals.

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