Monday, 14 January 2008

Mining at Cox Bight??

I got this in my email from an anonymous correspondent, with a bit more info than was on the TV the other day (I think it was TV). Bit of an issue though, the thought of a new tin mine being established at Cox Bight - slap in the middle of Tasmania's South West WHA - is like some weird joke anachronism. As the correspondent points out, the government does appear to have moved quite sneakily on this.


Dear friend,

You've received this e-mail because you are a friend of Tasmania's South-West wilderness, particularly the famous and beautiful South Coast track.The Tasmanian government is planning to allow a mining company to explore for tin along a 15 kilometre section of the track. The 35-square kilometre area stretches from Melaleuca to Cox Bight. The exploration could include helicopter-supported drilling in what is a critical habitat for the endangered Orange Bellied Parrot. The exploration will bring maybe $80,000 worth of investment to the state. If mining were to proceed it would impact severely on the World Heritage area and would be visible from many areas of the track and beyond.Cynically, the Tasmanian government announced its plan on the Sunday before Christmas, in the last lines of a press release issued at 6pm. Make up your own mind - read the Tasmanian government press release here.

The approval process is being handed by the Tasmanian Minerals Council. Details of the proposal are somewhere on their website, but good luck finding them. Objections close in a few days. It will cost you $25 to lodge an objection.

The Tasmanian National Parks Association is opposed to the plan. They say mining leases in the area should be cancelled as mining ceases. So too does the the WHA's management plan. The area should have been included in the WHA in the first place.

Paula Wreidt is Tasmania's tourism, arts and environment minister and is responsible for national parks in the state. If you're opposed to mining inside the World Heritage Area, let Paula know.

If plans to consider mining inside a national park will affect your plans to visit Tasmania or the South Coast Track, let Paula know that to. Tell her how it might change your plans and how much you would have spend. Tell how many friends you've sent - or would take with you.

Tasmania's wilderness is worth far more than a few thousand tonnes of tin.Pass this message on to anyone you know who has walked or who loves the South Coast Track, or is a friend of the south-western Tasmanian wilderness and urge them to act too ... let Paula know.

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