Department of Environment confirms MMG’s proposed rainforest destruction will face public scrutiny.

Impending rainforest destruction by MMG’s proposed roading and drilling ahead of its proposed tailings dam in the south-east of takayna will prompt a fresh public comment process, following the Federal Court overturning the previous federal minister’s approval. The proposed works include 15 kilometres of new roads and clearing and drilling at 160 drill sites within rainforest and melaleuca forest, home to Tasmanian Masked Owl, Wedge-tailed Eagle, and Tasmanian Devil as well as a threatened Brookers Gum forest community.

Correspondence from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, made available to Bob Brown Foundation, commits to public comment being sought prior to Minister Plibersek remaking a decision on the works. BBF also understands that the department is awaiting supplementary information from MMG.

“takayna is a World Heritage value region that needs urgent protection from MMG’s proposed tailings dam and all associated destruction of its precious environment. Federal Environment Minister Plibersek has the power to protect takayna from this tailings dam, land clearing, logging and mining,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

“When we met with the Minister two weeks ago, we pressed our concern that MMG, and other proponents, were effectively gaming the system by submitting deficient information in reports prior to public comment periods, allowing them to avoid public scrutiny of supplementary reports requested after public comment periods end. We are glad that we have been heard and that, in this case, supplementary data will face public scrutiny,” said Bob Brown Foundation takayna Campaigner Scott Jordan.

“Public comment periods allow for much more than the airing of public concerns about projects. They also allow for peer review and expert scrutiny of the science and assumptions that underpin the decision making. When the future of threatened species like the Tasmanian Masked Owl are at stake, it is important that we have all available information, not just what proponents like MMG choose to cherry pick. Better information will allow for better decisions”.

“In the case of MMG’s tailings dam, the company chose to deny the existence of the Tasmanian Masked Owl on the project site, despite their own consultants recording Masked Owl calls on at least two occasions. Without our foundation’s science team recording more than 400 owl calls and turning to the Federal Court to seek the owls’ protection, this important breeding site would have already been carved up.”

Chinese government-owned MMG and its parent company China Minmetals is one of the world’s largest miners. Australian Tax Office data from 2018-2021 has shown that, despite MMG earning a staggering $2.7billion over the period, the company paid no income tax in Australia.

“MMG is threatening to destroy public lands that are a global environmental gem. They have the funds to build the paste-fill plant on their own mine site. The Masked Owls have no other option if their critical breeding habitat is destroyed. Minister Plibersek has a duty in a climate and extinction crises to not let MMG turn takayna into a mine waste dump,” Jenny Weber said.

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