Tasmanian Times


Mine plan prompts new Emergency National Heritage bid for Tarkine


In response to the Venture Minerals’ Mount Lindsay open cut mine proposal inside the Meredith Ranges Regional Reserve, the Tarkine National Coalition along with partners WWF, Australian Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society, Tasmanian Conservation Trust, Environment Tasmania and North West Environment Centre have lodged a new nomination for Tarkine Emergency National Heritage Listing.

“The Mount Lindsay mine is a Pilbara style open cut super pit that will devastate a large area of the Tarkine rainforest wilderness within an existing reserve. The 3.5 x 3km disturbance area is the equivalent of 420 Melbourne Cricket Grounds and a 220m depth being over twice the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” said Tarkine National Coalition spokesperson Scott Jordan.

“It is completely inconsistent with the protection of the Tarkine, and Minister Burke must act immediately to ensure that the Tarkine has the highest level of protection going into this assessment.”

In the absence of a National Heritage Listing, the Minister is legally unable to consider the impacts on the rainforest, the 25 watercourses to be disrupted, or the recognised wilderness values of the area in the mine’s EPBC assessment.

This area was covered by the Tarkine Emergency National Heritage Listing until December 2010 when federal Environment Minister Tony Burke allowed the Tarkine Emergency National Heritage Listing to lapse citing the removal of the immediate threat of the original Tarkine Road.

“The lapsing of the National Heritage Listing last December has left this area exposed and there is a urgent need for National Heritage protection for this wild and unique place. Companies including Venture are using the removal of the heritage protections to ramp up exploration activities including roading and drilling that are having a significant effect on the values of the area.”

“Enough damage has occurred to the Tarkine on this Minister’s watch.”

The Mount Lindsay site is part of the Australian Heritage Council’s recommended 433,000 hectare Tarkine National Heritage Area, and is within the Meredith Ranges Regional Reserve created in the 2002 out of the Tasmanian Regional Forests Agreement.

“We have lodged a new nomination for Tarkine Emergency National Heritage Listing of the Tarkine, as Venture’s proposal clearly demonstrates a ‘likely and imminent threat’ to the acknowledged National Heritage values as required by the EPBC Act.”

“The National Heritage values of the Tarkine are widely recognised, including by the previous Minister and the Australian Heritage Council. They haven’t changed since the emergency listing was applied by Minister Garrett in 2009, and the case for emergency listing now is as strong as it was then”.

“We are calling on the Minister to urgently re-invoke the Tarkine Emergency National Heritage Listing to ensure that the current Venture Minerals’ Mount Lindsay mine and the other nine known future mining developments are required to be assessed against the National Heritage criteria.”

The company has acknowledged an impact on the Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus harrisii and Spotted-tailed quoll Dasyurus maculatus subsp. maculates, in their referral documents.

The new listing includes updated mapping to remove the existing Savage River (below) and Hellyer mining leases within the Tarkine. This is consistent with the original (2004) nomination that sought to avoid impacts on existing mines at that time, and the removal of these leases ensures no impact on existing mining operations. The nomination covers an area of 442,194 hectares (down from the original 447,000).


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  1. Katherine Hobman

    November 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    How sad a life it must be for those who look at a forest and see its value only in the terms of how much money they can make by destroying it.

    The Tarkine must be protected at all costs.

  2. Russell

    November 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Re #12
    And what economic/business analysis has been put up by Gunns regarding profit and sustainable viability of their proposed pulp mill, or FT about their future business model, without public subsidies?

  3. George Harris aka woodworker

    November 20, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Again re #8, Rob Fairlie, some might think the figures suggested in that economic analysis are a reality, but they were only an estimate by a small bunch of interstate consultants who wrote a report, for which they got some dollars out of the federal government. It would not have stood up to rigorous peer review, and knowledgable people are still shaking their heads in disbelief. It seems some are continuing to be sucked in by it.

  4. Russell

    November 20, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Re #9
    Err, no, they are a reality. You have to pull your head out of the sand to be able to see. There are none so blind than those who refuse to see.

    And no argument to the other purely tourism based examples, George?

    Remember, Great Southern, Timbercorp, both belly-up, and Gunns $355million LOSS.

  5. George Harris aka woodworker

    November 20, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Rob Fairlie, (#8), I remember when that so-called independent economic analysis came out, and I nearly chocked laughing. I reckon they double-counted things that weren’t there, and counted other things that have nothing to do with it, and added things from their imagination. $50 million in income and 1100 jobs by 2017? That is absolute fantasy.

  6. George Harris aka woodworker

    November 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Re #7, JohnBoy, I love it! As for carbon sequestration, carbon credits, REDD, they are all an illusion, ascribed more value than they are really worth… Some people are barking mad.

  7. Rob Fairlie

    November 19, 2011 at 10:39 pm


    Independent economic analysis concluded the tourism industry in Tarkine has the potential to generate over $50 million in income and support 1100 jobs by 2017.

    How many jobs will the venture mine proposal create? How long will they last?

    It is simplification of the facts to assert that conservation of the Tarkine will hurt the Tasmanian economy.

    Rob Fairlie
    Tarkine Trails

  8. JohnBoy

    November 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Rob #4 As an owner of the so called pioneering tourism business Tarkine Trails, before you ask the mining company or government how many short (1000) and long term (200) jobs this project will deliver and how much money will be returned to the state ; could you please inform everyone how many people are full time employed (38 hours a week for 52 weeks)in your tourism venture Tarkine Trails and how many tourists each year are escorted through the Tarkine out of the almost 1,000,000 visitors to this state each year.This way we can work out the potential devastation to the Tasmanian tourism economy if this mine goes ahead.Do your tours go anywhere near the proposed mine area?,not from what I know but I’m probably mistaken but I do await reply.Ed, I’m not attacking Rob but we do need facts and not just generalisations.

  9. Russell

    November 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Re #5
    Carbon sequestration? Carbon credits? REDD? Kakadu? Litchfield Park< The Kimberleys? Daintree Rainforest?

  10. George Harris

    November 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    The no-economy mob are at it again! Tell me again where you income stream is for managing expanded national parks…?

  11. Rob Fairlie

    November 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    As an owner of the pioneering tourism business Tarkine Trails, I am left heartbroken by the lack of vision and leadership shown by our elected representatives on this matter.

    The tourism industry is a long term sustainable wealth generator and has the potential to employ hundreds of Tasmanians and generate significant wealth for this state. To achieve its potential, the industry needs to have it’s resource, the wilderness of the Tarkine, protected. Once this wilderness quality is compromised, it may be lost forever, limiting the potential of my business and many other tourism businesses to grow.

    Mining may deliver short term jobs, however, what will it deliver in the longer term?

    How long will the Venture mining proposal last?

    How much money will be returned to the state?

    These are all vital questions that need to be debated in the public arena.

    Surely it is the job of our elected leaders to lead this debate?

    Is there anyone out there who can contribute?

  12. Carol Rea

    November 17, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Even if all the money came to Tasmania to keep our hospitals open and our schools viable it would still be a price to hard to pay. And as a health worker of 3 decades who knows the pain out there it is hard to say but must be said. Thank you John.

  13. Russell

    November 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    And what is the Greens Environment Spokesperson Minister Cassy O’Connor doing about it?

  14. john hayward

    November 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    If this makes you sick, it’s probably best you don’t know how little of the proceeds from the extractions will stay with the Tasmanian public.

    Commercial-in-confidence, of course.

    John Hayward

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