Mines vs rainforest: Showdown looming in Tasmania

The Australian reports on a potential clash of visions in the Tasmanian rainforest, where 10 new mines are proposed and 58 exploration licences active.

According to the story, the area which is home to the largest tract of temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere, along with Aborignial archeological sites, also has rich deposits of iron ore, tungsten, tin and copper.

The prospect of a mining boom in the economically depressed area is both tantalizing and worrying. One company, Venture Minerals’ Mount Lindsay tin and tungsten project, envisions a large scale open-pit mine. The Australian quotes a company spokesperson and a campaigner for the Tarkine National Coalition giving opposing views on the project:

“The Mount Lindsay pit would be 1.5km by 220m deep, but the larger impact is often from the rock dumps and tailings dams,” TNC campaign co-ordinator Scott Jordan tells Inquirer.

“So the combined size of the entire lease and that impact zone is the equivalent of 420 Melbourne Cricket Grounds and the depth of the pit itself would be twice the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. And this is just one of 10 projects. Venture alone has two other mine proposals and 37km still to drill. Once they have that processing hub they are able to develop open-cut mines across the region.”

However, Venture Minerals accuses the TNC of exaggeration. “Mount Lindsay is located in an established mining district with more than 120 years of mining history,” a company spokesman says.

“At full production, Mount Lindsay has the potential to deliver $250 million of annual revenue … (and) direct employment of 500 to 1000 people during the mine development phase, and 200-plus long term.”

Continue reading at The Australian (sub required)

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