29 April 2022
The Federal Court has reserved its decision on a stay of execution for the Pieman River rainforest in southern takayna and the breeding Masked Owls that rely on this precious habitat for hollows and hunting grounds. The Federal Court today heard Bob Brown Foundation’s application for an injunction in their case against the Federal Environment Minister.
“In an extremely rare event, a photograph was taken on Monday night of one of takayna’s resident Tasmanian Masked Owls inside the forests directly threatened by Chinese state-owned MMG’s proposed heavy metals tailings waste dump, proposed new roads and drilling sites. It was submitted by the Foundation as a new critical piece of evidence today. This was a first,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“MMG offered an undertaking today in court, and we rejected their terms as they will not protect the Tasmanian Masked Owl. Counsel for MMG agreed in court today that there is a case to be answered here,” Jenny Weber said.
“The Tasmanian Masked Owls living, breeding and foraging in these threatened forests need urgent protection. Our case in the Federal Court is that Australia’s Environment Minister failed to take into account the precautionary principle when giving the forests over to Chinese state-owned miner MMG to destroy,” Jenny Weber said.
“MMG’s proposed 15km of roads and clearing of more than 160 sites for drilling and test pits are threats of serious or irreversible damage, let alone the demolition of 140 hectares of forests for heavy metals sludge to be dumped in these intact forests. These matters should not be overcomplicated, as this proposed heavy metals tailings waste dump will be severely harmful to the Tasmanian Masked Owl and a galaxy of globally significant values,” Jenny Weber said.
“We have overwhelming evidence by experts and our scientist Charley Gros that the proposed area for this tailings waste dump and any preliminary works is critical habitat for the Tasmanian Masked Owl. MMG has an alternative that does not cost the rainforests and is 100% feasible. We know this from confidential experts who are close to this mine. A paste-fill plant on their current mine site is a better option to destroying rainforests and Masked Owl habitat for their mine waste,” Jenny Weber said.
While our case against the Commonwealth approvals will not be heard until July, today’s hearing dealt with an application from Bob Brown Foundation for an injunction to prevent Chinese state-owned miner MMG from pushing ahead with roading, clearing and drilling for its proposed toxic, acid-producing heavy metals tailings dam.
“Simultaneously with the blockade that has held out MMG’s machines, Bob Brown Foundation has worked with teams of scientists, lawyers and everyday citizens in documenting the values of this ancient forest ecosystem and the Masked Owls that rely on the large old hollows only found in mature forests like these,” Scott Jordan said.
“While we wait for the court’s decision, we remain in the forests defending the ancients. If we fail to stop them, MMG will level 285 hectares of rainforest and melaleuca forest to flood it with 25 million cubic metres of toxic, acid-producing heavy metals tailings,” Scott Jordan said.
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