We commented on these pages earlier of the large Australian Workers Union ("AWU") backed pro-mining rallies in Tasmania in support of a proposed iron mine in the Tarkine, a remote part of northwestern Tasmania. Earlier the mine had been approved by the Labor Party State government. This approval was overturned by a Federal court upheld injunction filed by environmental groups including the Tarkine National Coalition ("TNC") who claimed that the government did not adequately provide for the protection of the endangered Tasmanian devil. The government has now approved the mine for the second time, this iteration with added stipulations to protect the Tasmanian Devil. In response to the new approval the TNC have vowed to go to the federal court once again.
An important observation is that the elected Australian Labor Party, both federally and in the state of Tasmania, have together shown support for mining development in the Tarkine. Mine development has also seen strong advocacy from organised labour. For example today AWU Tasmania Secretary Ian Wakefield welcomed the new approval and had this to say of the TNC, "...I strongly urge the Tarkine Coalition to accept the fact that mining is not inherently incompatible with environmentalism."
We cannot profess to know a thing about this situation, but we do follow these developments across the sea with great interest. The TNC and the Cradle Coast Authority both claim that the Tarkine covers a 447,000 hectare area. Our ignorance of Tasmania won't stop us from pointing out that the proposed mine would disturb 152 hectares of land which amounts to 0.03% of the Tarkine. A rallying cry to stop the mine has been "Don't Mine the Tarkine". As we have previously pointed out, mining is a low land use resource industry. This proposed mine seems in fact to leave lots of space in the Tarkine for Tasmanian devils.