Minister for Climate Change
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Water
Statement - Venture Minerals
5 August 2013
I have granted Venture Minerals approval to proceed with their proposed Riley Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) Hematite Mine in north-western Tasmania for which a mining lease has been issued by the Tasmanian Government. The mine will operate for 2 years and the approval is subject to 37 strict conditions. This particular site has been subject to mining activity in the past.
In considering the grant of an approval, I had regard to the impact such a development might have on “matters of national environmental significance” – in particular, on a number of listed threatened flora and fauna species. I have considered a wide range of comments and advice, including relevant approved conservation advices.
I have imposed conditions that I am confident will protect those species. These conditions include a range of avoidance and mitigation measures that will reduce the likely impacts. Where significant residual impacts remain likely, however, the company must take other action to compensate for the impacts, known as offsets.
The conditions include a suite of traffic management measures, preclearance surveys to protect breeding fauna and a range of monitoring and reporting measures. The site is located on a sealed public road. Transport of ore outside the mine site will be prohibited outside daylight hours, and all staff will travel to and from the site on a bus, except where separate approval for use of another vehicle (for operational reasons) is given by my department.
I am confident that these conditions will greatly reduce any threat by vehicles to wildlife covered by the Commonwealth legislation, including the Tasmanian Devil.
In addition, I have required the company to make a substantial contribution to Tasmania’s ongoing efforts to protect the Tasmanian Devil. These include conditions to engage suitably qualified experts to implement a Tasmanian Devil and Spotted-Tail Quoll habitat management and monitoring plan, and a contribution of $144 000 funding for the maintenance of an “insurance population” of Devils in response to the Devil Facial Tumour Disease epidemic. This measure is consistent with the draft Tasmanian Devil recovery plan.
In the event that, in spite of traffic conditions I’ve imposed, more Tasmanian Devils are killed by vehicles, the company will be required to contribute an additional $48,000 funding for each Tasmanian Devil death, above two in any twelve month period, to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. These funds will also go to the maintenance of an “insurance population” of Devils.
I have also imposed conditions on the Company to ensure the protection of any Tasmanian azure kingfisher habitat including surface water quality control measures and relevant buffer zones
Further, for each spot-tailed quoll death above one in any twelve month period, the company must fund a three (3) month program of feral dog and cat trapping, or shooting; and for each wedge-tailed eagle death above one in any twelve month period, the company must contribute to wedge-tailed eagle monitoring strategies, as agreed to by the department to an estimated value of $20,000.
These conditions will ensure that there are strong environmental protections in place for a development with significant economic potential for Northwest Tasmania.