Another win for Australian miner; loss for Tasmanian devil

The Australian environmental minister has granted another iron ore mine deal in Tasmania’s Tarkine region, this time to Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS) for its Riley Creek operation.

Last week Mark Butler, federal environmental minister, re-approved Shree Minerals’ (ASX:SHH) proposed iron ore mine in the north-west after the government overturned the initial approval and halted the project, Australia’s ABC news reports.

Now Butler has angered environmentalist groups again by approving Venture’s proposal for a two-year long project – subject to “strict conditions."

The Riley Creek mine’s main purpose is to finance the company’s flagship Mount Lindsay tin and tungsten operation nearby.

Environmentalist opposition mainly centers on a small Australian land animal, the Tasmanian devil, which is highly endangered – the coveted mining sites threaten one of the only remaining devil populations.

One of Butler’s conditions requires Venture to pay about $50,000 for every Tasmanian devil casualty – if the company kills more than two per year.

A group called the Tarkine National Coalition has been targeting the mining companies and this may not be its last stand: The coalition has vowed to take further legal action on both Venture and Shree’s approvals.

Creative Commons image by: Andrew