Iron ore mine to go ahead in Tasmania after legal delay

Venture Minerals will be able to call an end to the trading halt with a Federal Court ruling in favour of the Riley Creek project.

The embattled company has been in a trading halt since August last year, due to a legal battle with the Save the Tarkine environmental group, which has tried to block plans to go ahead with the proposed iron ore and tungsten mine at Riley Creek, near Tullah in Tasmania.

Reports by the state’s Environmental Protection Agency revealed that only five Tasmanian Devils would be disturbed by the Riley Mine.

The Venture Minerals website states that the company is a partner with the Save the Tasmanian Devil program, and that all employees of Venture Minerals have become volunteer Devil Facial Tumour Disease monitors, and also remove waste and roadkill from road verges to help prevent motor vehicle Devil fatalities.

The case presented by Save the Tarkine was characterised as “frivolous”, with Justice Richard Tracey declaring that the environmental group had “failed to make good any of its grounds”, and should pay costs to the Commonwealth and Venture Minerals.

Tasmanian Minerals Council CEO Terry Long said the costs would be substantial.

“Even though they've lost the case and had costs awarded against them, which will be substantial, the point is they've achieved their objective, delaying Venture's project for many months and costing the company and its many contractors – small companies – a great deal of money,” Long said.

“I think it's now incumbent upon the federal government to consider whether this sort of action is fair and reasonable or whether the act needs to be amended in order to preclude ideological appeals.”

Venture Minerals has said that proceedings were costing the company $50,000 per week.

The Riley Creek mine will employ 60 people for two years, with a value of $80 million to the local economy, and will be used by Venture Minerals to fund a larger mine proposed near Mount Lindsay.

Save the Tarkine campaign co-ordinator Scott Jordan said the group will try to appeal against the ruling.

“We're not going away, our supporters are not going away and we'll remain determined to protect the Tarkine from this type of mining,” he said.

“This area should be a national park, it should be a World Heritage Area.”

Venture Minerals will release a statement next week.

Image: Think Tasmania

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