Jobs in sandmining
Stradbroke Island’s natural environment is the foundation for the largest contributer to the Stradbroke economy and jobs – tourism and hospitality. This isn’t surprising – as the community of South East Queensland knows and loves Straddie’s beautiful natural areas. Employment of Straddie residents spans many sectors including construction, administrative, public administration, mining, trades and education. There is also a growing proportion of retirees on the island.
Sand mining of Stradbroke Island has provided employment for sixty years however this mining is, in its very nature, destructive and unsustainable. The economic future of Stradbroke is dependent on the protection of the remaining landscape. Much of Stradbroke has been locked up because of sand mining, these areas offer opportunites for many people
Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that, at 2006, there were 120 island residents employed in mining. The number of resident miners has since dropped.
There are three sand mines which are currently operating on Stradbroke. One of these is a mine for silica, to make glass. This mine, called ‘Vance’, is a minor employer, only employing about a dozen people. The ‘Yarraman’ mine, for mineral sands, is to the north of the island and is visible from Point Lookout. The minerals are expected to be fully exploited within the next couple of years.
Consolidated Rutile Limited, who owned the mineral sand mines until May 2009, issued an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange in that month stating that the company’s Stradbroke employees would halve in 2013 when the Yarraman mine was closed.
Since then Sibelco has changed the prediction, suggesting that this mine could now operate until 2015 before the minerals are fully exploited. Under the government’s latest plan, destructive sand mining will continue at the other sand mine, the ‘Enterprise’ mine until 31 December, 2019. Mining is to continue at Vance until 2025.
Sand mining is very destructive, removing all the vegetation and destroying the ancient layered sand dunes. When mining is ended, there is a lot of work to ‘rehabilitate’ the mined land, although the science shows that this rehabilitation will never be able to restore the natural diversity and landforms.
We support compensation for mine workers if mining is stopped soon.
The mining industry is screaming out for skilled employees, now is a good time to stop sand mining on Stradbroke Island.