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Tasmanian mine may get second chance

TarkineA reprieve for Tasmania’s be-seiged Shree Minerals iron ore project may be on the cards with the Federal Government’s new Environment Minister, Mark Butler,  set to visit the Tarkine region to review the Federal Court’s recent knock-back of the proposed mine.

The $20 million iron ore mine proposal was rejected by the Federal Court last week with the court ruling that the previous minister, Tony Burke, did not give due consideration to the impact on the endangered Tasmanian devil population of the region.

Mr Butler is meeting the environmental group behind the court win, Save the Tarkine, among others and expects to make a draft decision on the project by Friday.

Tasmania’s north west is shaping up as a key electoral battleground, however Minister Butler says the upcoming federal election will have no bearing on his decision.

Speaking to the ABC, the Minister said, “The overriding pressure on me is to make sure I consider all of the information I’m required to consider in the legislation,”

“But subject to that overriding consideration that I do this as promptly as I can because I know that some certainty around this project, whatever view you take about the project, certainty around this project is important for north-west Tasmania.”

It is a divisive issue in the electorate of Braddon. The region has the country’s biggest expanse of cool temperate rainforest, but it has also been a stronghold for the mining industry since the 1870s.

Earlier this year, the Federal Government rejected a National Heritage listing application for the region because it feared jobs would be put at risk.

In the meantime, conservationists are pushing ahead with their campaign to have the whole region nominated for World Heritage status.

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