Tarkine National Coalition has described the Shree Minerals’ Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Nelson Bay River open cut iron ore mine as a mismatch of omissions, flawed assumptions and misrepresentations. Key data on endangered orchids is missing, and projections on impacts on Tasmanian devil and Spotted tailed quoll are based on flawed and fanciful data.
The EIS produced by the company as part of the Commonwealth environmental assessments has failed to produce a report relating to endangered and critically endangered orchid populations in the vicinity of the proposed open cut mine. The soil borne Mychorizza fungus is highly succeptible to changes in hydrology, and is essential to the germination of the area’s native orchids which cannot exist without Mychorizza. Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke included this report as a requirement in the project’s EIS guidelines issued in June 2011.
“Shree Minerals have decided that undertaking the necessary work on the proposal is likely to uncover some inconvenient truths, and so instead of producing scientific reports they are asking us to suspend common sense and accept that a 220 metre deep hole extending 1km long will have no impact on hydrology.” said Tarkine National Coalition spokesperson Scott Jordan.
“It’s a ridiculous notion when you consider that the mine depth will be some 170 metres below the level of the adjacent Nelson Bay River.”
TNC has also questioned the company’s motives in the clear contradictions and misrepresentations in the data relating to projections of Tasmanian devil roadkill from mine related traffic. The company has used a January-February traffic surveys as a current traffic baseline which skews the data due to the higher level of tourist, campers and shackowner during the traditional summer holiday season. DIER data indicates that there is a doubling of vehicles on these road sections between October and January.
The company also asserted an assumed level of mine related traffic that is substantially lower than their own expert produced Traffic Impact Assessment. The roadkill assumptions were made on an additional 82 vehicles per day in year one, and 34 vehicles per day in years 2-10, while the figures the Traffic Impact Assessment specify 122 vehicles per day in year one, and 89 vehicles per day in ongoing years.
“When you apply the expert Traffic Impact Assessment data and the DIER’s data for current road use, the increase in traffic is 329% in year one and 240% in years 2-10 which contradicts the company’s flawed projections of 89% and 34%”.
“This increase of traffic will, on the company’s formulae, result in up to 32 devil deaths per year, not the 3 per year in presented in the EIS.”
“Shree Minerals either is too incompetent to understand it’s own expert reports, or they have set out to deliberately mislead the Commonwealth and State environmental assessors.”
“Either way, they are unfit to be trusted with a Pilbara style iron ore mine in stronghold of threatened species like the Tarkine.”
The public comment period closed on Monday, and the company now has to compile public comments received and submit them with the EIS to the Commonwealth.