Bob Brown Foundation has criticised Chinese state-owned MMG’s referral to push ahead with their heavy metals tailings dam in Tasmania’s takayna / Tarkine. The referral to the Federal Environment EPBC has been in the public comment phase for the past ten days.
“The Federal Environment Minister has the next ten days to refuse this proposed project that is unnecessary and will be extremely damaging to a large area of Australia’s World Heritage value takayna. The Foundation is now making preparations to return to frontline action to defend the rainforests, if MMG is granted permission to demolish World Heritage values by Australia’s environment minister,” said Bob Brown Foundation takayna / Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
“Mining company MMG’s referral lacked data, made unfounded assumptions about threatened species at the proposed site and blatantly attempted to bypass an earlier referral decision. When MMG withdrew their illegal roading and drilling works from the EPBC assessment we smelled a rat. In the detail of the new referral, the rat has been sighted. Referring an already referred project, already under assessment and already in breach, makes no sense unless MMG have been given undertakings that by doing so these works can be exempted from assessment," Scott Jordan said.
In July, MMG ceased works on the project after legal notice was given by Bob Brown Foundation that works undertaken were without permits and therefore illegal. MMG then withdrew the roading and drilling from the pre-existing assessment process and resubmitted these works as a new assessment in an attempt to bypass the current assessment.
The Minister has until 15 December to decide if the referred and already illegally commenced works require assessment under the EPBC Act. In the referral, MMG has pre-empted a ‘no assessment’ decision announcing a December 16 recommencement.
“MMG should have been prosecuted for their illegal works, but it appears that instead they have had the process bastardised to suit their agenda. Minister Ley needs to come clean on what assurances have been given to MMG. The Minister has already ruled that this project needs a full assessment. The decision on this referral must be the same as the previous referral, or it is a sham," concluded Mr Jordan.
MMG’s environmental claims of no significant impacts on Masked Owl, Brookers Gum, Tasmanian Devil and other species have been based on just four days of surveying, across multiple species over a fraction of the works area.
Bob Brown Foundation’s submission, based on four months of on-site surveying here