A pro-mining rally in Tasmania has been overwhelmed by the levels of support it has received.
The group, Unlock Tasmania, said early predictions forecast a small group, but now a crowd numbering “in the thousands” is expected, according to The Advocate.
Initial estimates predict it could even be larger than the pro-mining rallies seen in Burnie and Tullah earlier this year, which had turnouts of 3000 and 2000 respectively.
‘‘It’s been amazing, the support in Circular Head has been more than 90 per cent of people who are supporting the rally,’’ The group’s chair, Joan Rylah, told The Advocate.
The group stated that a federal injunction against the development of Shree Minerals’ project in the state’s northwest, more commonly known as the Tarkine, was behind the rally.
‘‘We want to give a voice to the majority,’’ she said.
‘‘There is an enormous amount of frustration in the community that the majority has not been heard on these issues.’’
The Tasmanian Minerals Council has said persistent legal challenges against proposed mines in the Tarkine could repel mining operators from the state.
Council chief executive Terry Long labelled Save the Tarkine Coalition’s injunction against Shree Minerals’ Nelson Bay mine an ‘abuse of the legal system’.
“It demonstrates that even if you get your approvals through the legitimate regulatory processes, and through the approvals set by the Environmental Protection Authority, that doesn’t mean you have got a project in Tasmania,” Long said.
A federal court judge upheld the injunction against Shree Minerals yesterday but postponed a two-day hearing on the issue to July.
Save the Tarkine Coalition spokesman Scott Jordan said the group filed the injunction to prohibit the start of mine work while the legal challenge against federal Environment Minister Tony Burke’s approval of the mine was ongoing.
The group claims Burke’s approval breaches the Environmental Protection Legislation due to the effect on endangered species like the Tasmanian devil.
The group lodged a case in the Federal Court, asking them to review Burke’s decision to approve Shree Minerals’ iron ore mine.
Shree Minerals contested the injunction and was directed to pay the environmental group’s legal expenses for yesterday’s court appearance in Melbourne.
Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings said the injunction is worrying.
“We firmly believe that Shree Minerals should be able to pursue their project in an area where we’re talking about only about 1 per cent of that region being open to mining,” Giddings said.
Opposition mining spokesman Adam Brooks observed the groups that were against forestry were now focusing on mining.
“You can never appease green groups,” he said.
The region’s mayor, Daryl Quilliam, stated that “it’s not only about Shree but all jobs in general and we need to have work here not only in Circular Head but all the North-West”.
‘‘I’ll be there,’’ he said.
‘‘. . . I’ll be telling those people I’m a strong supporter of the mining industry and I’m doing my best to have these mines established.’’