Saturday, 10 August 2013

Last disease-free Tasmanian devils imperiled by mine

The federal environment minister, Mark Butler, has given the go-ahead to a controversial mine that the courts halted amid concerns it could drastically affect the last stronghold of the Tasmanian devil.

Butler said he had granted approval to Shree Minerals to proceed with its iron ore mine at Nelson Bay River in the north-west of Tasmania, subject to 30 conditions.

However, the Save the Tarkine campaign group, which successfully convinced the federal court to block the mine two weeks ago, said it would launch a further legal challenge, claiming that Butler had not taken the time to make a full assessment of the mine's impact.

The federal court had ruled that Tony Burke, the previous environment minister, had erred by failing to properly consult departmental advice relating to the mine's adverse implications for the Tasmanian devil.

Around 80% of the Tasmanian devil population has been ravaged by a facial tumor disease, with the last remaining tumor-free population found in the Tarkine, where the mine is to be located.

Conditions placed on the mine by Butler include a ban on travel to and from the site outside daylight hours to reduce the chance of devils being run over by trucks. Shree employees will also have to get to the mine via a bus, rather than travel there in their own cars.


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