In an embarrassing back down by a Tasmanian Minister who has broken the law to advantage a Chinese state-owned miner. Bob Brown Foundation has called for Minister Barnett to resign.
Minister For Resources Guy Barnett has been forced to tear up mine lease 4M/2021 granted to Chinese state owned MMG after the Bob Brown Foundation exposed the lease as illegal. In a letter to Bob Brown Foundation, Minister Barnett has said:
"Following due consideration, I was not empowered to make the decision. In consequence, there has been no valid grant of that lease".
MMG sought the lease over Helilog Road in southern takayna/Tarkine in April 2021. The area followed a narrow strip along five kilometres of Helilog Road and included beekeeping sites, the Forest Walk tourist site, the site of the Bob Brown Foundation's protest camp from December 2020, and access to MMG's proposed heavy metals tailings dam.
To be eligible for a mine lease under Tasmanian law, an applicant must demonstrate a mineable body of ore and a mining plan. The BBF asserted that neither existed in this case and that the lease was sought to deny public access to the 5km of Helilog Road leading to MMG's project site.
"This was an attempt to shut down public protest and to lock the community out of an area that MMG and the Minister did not want them seeing, and without our intervention, this illegal lease would have done just that", said Bob Brown Foundation takayna/Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
"What discussions occurred between the Minister, Mineral Resources Tasmania, and MMG to facilitate the granting of a mine lease that didn't meet the most basic eligibility requirement? Who knew? When did they know? And will anyone take any responsibility? If Minister Barnett will not resign, then the Premier should sack him," concluded Mr Jordan.