Report shows mining’s contribution to Tas economy

A report commissioned by the Minerals Council has shown only five companies are producing nearly half of Tasmania’s exports.

Four of the companies are mining and mineral processing companies.

The findings were given at today’s Minerals Council Conference in Hobart, ABC Rural reported.

The report, compiled by economist Dr Bruce Felmingham, looked at the input from the companies Grange Resources, MMG, Nystar, Pacific Aluminium and Norske Skog into the economy.

The report said the five employers made $1.5 billion in exports, nearly 49 per cent of Tasmania’s total exports and the revenue generation is responsible for 11 per cent of Tasmanian GDP.

“What it tells us is that our economy is fairly concentrated in the hands of a few major industries. That’s why surrounding industries like agriculture are so important to us,” Felmingham said.

“That’s why surrounding industries like agriculture are so important to us.”

He said diversity is key to spreading risks in any industry, whether it is mining or agriculture. He wants to see these companies grow.

"I accept that as the core of the economy but we've also got to also remember that if there is a failure somewhere in the system we will lose an industry and that would be catastrophic."

President of the Minerals Council Wayne Bould said the council wants to promote understanding of the importance of the industry to the economy.

“We really want to challenge people interested in mining and the people currently operating in mining, to think about where they sit in Tasmania’s economy now and where it’s likely to be in the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, about 20 protesters from the Save the Tarkine Coalition protested outside the conference venue against new mining projects planned for the north west.

Led by Scott Jordan, the protest specifically took aim at federal environment minister Tony Burke, according to The Examiner.

“Tony Burke has failed the Tarkine, he’s failed the Australian people in not listing that area,” Jordan said.

He added their campaign would involve political and corporate action, along with ‘direct action on the site’.

“If these miners want to turn up and want to start trying to dig holes in the Tarkine, we’ll be there, and our intent will be to stop it,” he said.

Bob Brown and Vica Bayley also participated in the protests, despite being on opposing teams in the forestry peace deal agreement.

Numerous protesters then stormed into a press conference presented by opposition mining spokesman Braddon MHA Adam Brooks. 

Environmentalists have continually protested over the Tarkine region, with a protest against Venture Minerals plans for a new mine at Mount Lindsay in April.

A pro-mining rally has been organised for May 25, with Tasmania's deputy premier Bryan Green encouraging locals to support the rally to be held in Tullah.

Jordan, a candidate for the Greens, has received death threats over Facebook for his campaign. Politicians from all sides united to express concerns over the threats.

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