A Supreme Court appeal against a mine lease granted to Chinese state-owned miner MMG will be heard in Hobart today. The lease was granted over Helilog Road in Tasmania’s takayna / Tarkine, some 8km before the actual site of the company’s proposed tailings dam. Bob Brown Foundation asserts that the lease was granted to prevent access to media and protesters to an extended area surrounding the proposed tailings dam.
“We will be arguing that former Minister Guy Barnett did not have the power under the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 to grant a lease for the purpose of denying protests and that the primary judge erred in upholding the lease,” said Scott Jordan, Bob Brown Foundation takayna / Tarkine Campaigner.
“The Act has very limited powers under which a Minister can sign over rights to public land, and to make things convenient for a company that wants to avoid public scrutiny is not within those powers.”
The lease area was an unprecedented 100m on either side of the road. Our case is the lease was invalid because it was not marked out properly, and because there was no need for the lease under the act.
“There is no surprise that the former Minister and this company do not want scrutiny of this controversial site. Our presence in this World Heritage value rainforest valley has shone a spotlight on illegal works by MMG, and has documented numerous threatened species, including the critically endangered Swift Parrot and the Tasmanian Masked Owl which led to the Federal Court overturning Commonwealth environment approvals.”
The appeal is set down for one day, commencing at 10am.