Bob Brown Foundation has blasted a decision by Chief Justice Blow in the Tasmanian Supreme Court today that the mine lease granted to Chinese state-owned miner MMG over 8 kilometres of Helilog Road is lawful. The lease covers an area outside the pre-existing lease where MMG’s proposed destruction would occur.
Bob Brown Foundation challenged the lease on the basis that it did not relate to mine works allowed under the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995. It asserted that the purpose of the lease was to deny access to media, scientists, protestors and the public to an area not actually part of the mining activity, therefore not allowable under the Act. The court backed the grant of the mine lease.
“Beijing will be pleased with Justice Blow’s decision. But it is not up the court to validate the Minister inventing reasons for the Minister to issue a mining lease which were not entertained by Parliament when it passed the law,” Bob Brown said.
“This decision allows grounds for leases that are not what the Parliament created in the laws as passed.”
“Today’s ruling highlights that existing mining laws are skewed to the protect the dirty secrets of the mining industry and prevent public scrutiny,” said Bob Brown Foundation takayna Campaigner Scott Jordan.
“During this case former Minister avoided being subpoenaed after resigning as Minister hours before being served. This Minister gave four contradictory accounts of the matters he considered, yet we were denied the opportunity to question the Minister under oath.”
“We will continue to protest on Helilog Road in defence of these ancient, life-filled, carbon-dense rainforests. The world needs to see the rainforest that MMG wants to flood with 25million cubic metres of toxic, acid -producing tailings waste.”
This was former Mining Minister Guy Barnett’s second attempt at granting a lease at Helilog Road. The first lease was withdrawn by the then-Minister after Bob Brown Foundation raised questions as to the legality of the lease.