Greens take aim at Riley Creek mine

An environmental group received an injunction extension against the planned Shree Minerals mine near Smithton only two weeks ago.

Now, Save the Tarkine has appealed against Venture Minerals’ proposed iron ore mine at Riley Creek near Tullah.

The mine, predicted to bring 60 jobs, got state government approval last month.

Campaign manager Scott Jordan said the group lodged the appeal yesterday with the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal yesterday, The Examiner reported.

Jordan is not satisfied with the Environmental Protection Authority’s assessment of the mine and claimed it had failed to meet its own criteria.

He said it had only examined one of three mine-specific documents looking at effect on wildlife.

“The government trying to find shortcuts is not acceptable, it’s a recipe for disaster,” Jordan said.

West Coast Council Mayor Darryl Gerrity is asking for the government and legislators to ‘balance the books’.

Gerrity recalled Shree Minerals had to pay Save the Tarkine’s legal costs after it was unsuccessful in contesting the injunction.

The injunction will stay until after a Federal Court hearing against Federal Environmental Minister Tony Burke in July.

“We have no problem with protest and appeals, but what we do have a problem with is people not taking financial responsibility,” Gerrity said.

The West Coast Council gave overwhelming support to approve the mine at Riley. But Gerrity had expressed fears the mine will be the subject of environmental backlash similar to Shree Minerals, The Examiner reported in May.

Jordan said he recognises the council’s apprehensions but laid the blame for the appeal on the EPA saying it was ‘realistically the fault of the EPA and they should take responsibility’.  

Resources Minister Bryan Green told a budget estimates committee in Hobart yesterday he was certain all mining proposals fit the strictest environmental criteria and would get the green light from the Commonwealth.

He added mines at Livingston, Mount Lindsay and Big Wilson would probably receive consent.

Green has shown support for the mining industry, backing a pro-mining rally in Tullah and encouraging people to attend during Question Time.

Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources secretary Norm McIlfatrick sees benefits in reopening mines on sites like Riley Creek.

“The best we could possibly hope for, for all these sites, is for them to keep operating, because as they are operated the new operator will repatriate the site,” he said.

Australian Mining reported yesterday mining activity had contaminated about 40 rivers, according to Green's statement to a budget estimates' hearing.

The Greens asked the government about its strategy to rehabilitate mine sites, with Greens MP Paul O'Halloran saying there are economic benefits in rehabilitation of old mine sites.

An example of this was the Bright Phase Resources proposition to reprocess tailings at Luina on the west coast.

“Acid mine drainage into the Whyte River at Luina has created a massive dead zone, and by using the right mining and processing technology it is possible to clean up the mess and deliver an economic return.”

Opposition spokesman for mining Adam Brooks said the Liberal government would not allow third party appeal.

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