1. On 20 June, 2010 Premier Anna Bligh announced that the Government intended to legislate to ‘phase out’ mining on the Island by 2027 and declare 80% of the Island National Park by the same date. The campaign against mining continues because the Premier’s announcement to phase out mining is a sham. Putting aside the silica sand mine known as Vance, which employs 15 people, there are two heavy mineral mines – Enterprise and Yarraman.
The miner told the Australian Securities Exchange last year that Yarramann would run out of minerals in 2013 (with half of the workforce losing its jobs) and Enterprise in 2027. However, Enterprise has been operating on expired leases for the past three years. If the mining laws were applied properly, this mine would be at an end and rehabilitation occurring. Instead it appears the Government intends to extend the expired Bjelke-Petersen leases to enable the miner to continue to destroy parts of the Island before it is declared National Park.
2.On 2 July, 2010 the Court of Appeal dismissed Unimin’s appeal against a Supreme Court Judge’s decision on 30 November, 2009 that Unimin had no right to remove non-mineral sand from Vance, and sell it to the construction and landscape industries. The Court of Appeal confirmed that Unimin’s removal of this sand was unlawful, irrespective of its having paid some royalties and irrespective of the opinion of a public servant that it was lawful.
3. The three criminal charges against Unimin are now proceeding. A hearing will take place in Brisbane Magistrates Court on 7 September, 2010. There will be a protest outside the court at 9am calling for more serious charges to be laid against Unimin- to properly reflect the serious nature of the comparny’s unlawful activities. The Court is situated on the corner of George and Turbot Streets, Brisbane.
4. On Friday, 23 July, 2010 the Court of Appeal dismissed a Unimin subsidiary’s appeal against a unanimous decision of the Redland Council in August 2008. The Council refused the miner development approval to remove and sell 500,000 tonnes of non-mineral sand per year from the Enterprise mine for an indefinite period. The company’s proposals are now at an end.