ONE of North Stradbroke Island’s (NSI) prominent miners has slammed the State Government’s decision to shut down all mineral sands mining operations by 2019, saying the move threatens the Island’s economic future.
Premier Anna Bligh officially stated last June that mining operations on NSI would continue until 2027. However this morning she announced to parliament the shutdown of Stradbroke sand miners would be fast-tracked to 2019.
Sand miner Sibelco Australia employs around 600 people in its North Stradbroke operations - jobs likely to be lost when the 94 per cent shut down of mining activity is implemented.
Sibelco sustainability and community relations manager Paul Smith, says local residents and employees are ‘devastated’ by the decision.
He highlights pressure from green groups as the cause of the Bligh Government’s turnaround on its initial 2027 timeframe.
“The residents, visitors, businesses and our Sibelco employees have been left stranded by this broken promise by the Bligh government,” says Smith.
“Everyone is feeling betrayed by a State Government which is pandering to minority and green groups who have a long-standing history of opposing progressive and beneficial development on the Island.”
Bligh however is determined to increase the NSI’s protected national park area from 1.7 per cent to 80 per cent.
“North Straddie is a Queensland icon and a favourite getaway for thousands of families - I want more of this wonderful place protected so the island has a more sustainable future for generations to come,” she says.
“Mining has occurred on the island for more than 50 years and it’s generated jobs, but we cannot overlook Straddie’s rich indigenous history and outstanding beauty.”
Smith, a NSI resident, expects the renewal of existing mining leases will be curtailed immediately.
“Mining is taking place on NSI within the conditions of these existing leases. From what we understand, there has never been a non-renewal of a lease in this way in the history of Queensland,” he says.
“This broken promise by the State Government will set a dramatic precedent which will undermine the fundamental basis for the security of mining leases across the state.
“With this back flip, Anna Bligh has put every mining company operating in Queensland on notice. This is a clear example of sovereign risk and other investors in Queensland should take notice of what is happening here.”
Sibelco Australia and a group of NSI residents plan to partition the government to reconsider its decision.
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