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ALP News Flash

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Federal Approval for Shree Minerals’ Nelson Bay River Mine

It is good news for North West Tasmania that Minister Burke has decided to approve Shree Minerals’ Nelson Bay River Magnetite and Hematite Mine.
This proposal is expected to bring up to 125 much needed new jobs for our region.
Shree Minerals have completed a thorough assessment under an Environmental Impact Statement with the Federal Environment Department and there has been extensive opportunity for public consultation. Only one organisation, the Tarkine National Coalition, engaged in consultation surrounding the impact of the mine on Tasmanian devils.
Minister Burke imposed 29 strict conditions on the project to ensure that it will go ahead without any unacceptable impacts on matters protected under national environmental law, such as nationally listed threatened species and their habitat.
These approval conditions will ensure that the development, operation and rehabilitation of the mine are done in accordance with national environment law.
Key aspects of the approval conditions include the development of a management plan for the protection of nationally threatened species at the mine site and for travel to and from the mine site.
In addition individual targeted pre-clearance surveys for the nationally listed masked-owl, spot-tailed quoll, the Tasmanian devil and the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle must be undertaken before any vegetation clearance.
Environmental awareness training for all staff, contractors and visitors to the site is also a key element of the approval.

Tasmanian Devil protection
A number of the approval conditions relate directly to the mitigation and avoidance of the threat of road kill to nationally threatened species, in particular the Tasmanian devil.
Mine vehicles may travel only during daylight hours and abide by appropriate speed limits within and to and from the mine site, and bus transport must also be provided to limit the amount of traffic on nearby roads.
Shree Minerals has been asked to provide $350,000 to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program Appeal.
To further support the species, the Government is requiring that a Tasmanian devil monitoring strategy be developed and implemented. The strategy needs to involve the placement and management of at least ten infrared monitoring cameras and must be consistent with the work being done by Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.

Other approval conditions
Extensive reporting provisions are an important part of the conditions. Each year from the commencement of the project Shree Minerals are required to report on their compliance with the approval conditions and publish this information on their website.
The Government is also requiring that Shree Minerals report all deaths of nationally threatened species from road kill. This information will be recorded on their website updated at least every three months.
Results from the monitoring strategy, including any raw data relating to Devil Facial Tumour Disease, must be reported promptly.
If reported road kill is in excess of predicted levels, Shree Minerals are required to pay additional compensation or provide resources for further environment programs to support threatened species in and near the site.
Shree Minerals will also be funding baseline research into the distribution, habitat requirements and reproductive factors for six species of native north-west Tasmanian orchids to inform any future decisions or impacts on the species.

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