Shree Minerals have officially opened the Nelson Bay River mine after a protracted process which saw court injunctions and protests levelled against the company.
Deputy Premier Bryan Green opened the mine yesterday, marking Shree’s transition from a developer to an iron ore miner.
Mining is expected to commence in the coming days, just three months after the iron ore project was given the green light for the second time.
An earlier decision by former environmental minister Tony Burke was challenged in the federal Court by the Save the Tarkine group and found to be invalid.
“This is a defining moment for the mining industry in Tasmania and truly a humbling experience for us at Shree Minerals,” chairman Sanjay Loyalka said.
“With the NBR DSO project commencing production, we believe that Shree Minerals is now at an inflection point in its objective to create shareholder wealth. The development of NBR at benchmark capital costs and time despite the adverse climate, reinforces our core values.”
In its initial stage the mine in Tasmania’s Tarkine region is expected to produce 400,000 tonnes of iron ore annually for the next two to three years.
The project will employ 120 people.
Circular Head mayor Daryl Quilliam said the mine is a welcome boost to a region.
"Some of these people have had machinery not doing much work for the past three years, so it's really good to see that actually happening again."
The Save the Tarkine group described the mine's opening as a shameful day.
The project has faced strong opposition from environmentalists who are concerned the mine has the potential to impact on the endangered Tasmanian Devils.
Anti-mining activists have vowed to fight any new mine approvals.