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The Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council (TMEC) welcomes the site visit by the Federal Minister for the Environment the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP to see firsthand where MMG propose to carry our exploratory drilling and other sampling techniques on its existing mine lease as part of its exploratory work to determine if a Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) can be safely and environmentally soundly established at South Marionoak.

TMEC anticipates the Federal Minister will be acutely aware of the importance of the minerals industry to Tasmania’s economic self-sufficiency in generating 64.9 percent (August 2022 Treasury data) of Tasmania’s export wealth. Importantly from a value-per-hectare perspective, nearly two-thirds of the state’s export wealth is produced from less than 1 percent of the landmass.

TMEC’s CEO, Ray Mostogl said, “All mining leases combined account for 0.88 percent of land and when compared with 49.89 percent of the land in some form of reserve or other, or even agriculture accounting for 27.5 percent of the landmass, then the mining industry has an incredibly small footprint.”

Ray went on to say, “In the 2021-22 year the mining industry provided $85.9 million directly to the State Government through royalties and rents. This funds the salaries and superannuation payments for many of the state’s nurses, firefighters, teachers, and police. How will these salaries be funded if mining is not here?”

The groups protesting the continuation of mining in Tasmania will want to avoid drawing attention to the economic carnage any shutdown of the mining industry would cause for the state. TMEC is not aware of any proposals by the protestor groups which would provide $85 million per annum to the State Government for the benefit of the Tasmanian population, let alone the hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries, goods, services and taxes which are spent each year by mining companies.

Ray said, “Tasmania’s biodiversity is important. Any proposal which seeks to utilise land will have some impact on biodiversity. It will be important to show the Minister the examples of biodiversity which may be sensitive to this development on the 285 Hectare site in question. It is equally important the Minister is briefed about the likelihood of the equivalent biodiversity being present on the 3.4 million Hectares currently classed as Reserves. Reserves account for 49.89 percent of Tasmania’s land mass, whereas mining leases account for 0.88 percent.”

The mining industry employs 5,600 people and has delivered hundreds of millions of dollars directly to the state government over the last few years.

Acknowledging 49.89 percent of the landmass is already under some form of protection, surely most Tasmanians would conclude any biodiversity potentially impacted by a mining operation is already adequately protected in the pristine areas already locked up.