NATIONAL PARK NOT MINING
North Stradbroke Island is the only sand island off the South-east coast of Queensland not protected against the environmental devastation of sand mining.
Fraser Island is World Heritage. Moreton Island is National Park.
There are three mines on North Stradbroke Island, all owned by Sibelco Australia Limited (formerly called Unimin Australia Limited), a Belgian owned multi-national company:-
1. Enterprise, also known as ‘Devastation South’ which will run out of minerals by 2027, at the latest anyway, even if allowed to continue. 2. Yarraman (Devastation North) which runs out of minerals in 2013. Together, they employ around 100 people mining for zircon, rutile and ilmenite. 3. The third mine, Vance, a silica sand mine (Devastation West) employs only 15 people. Less than half of the mines’ employees live on the Island.
All three mines are continually on the move. Areas in the path of the mines are completely cleared of vegetation, most of which is burned. Then the sand dunes, many of which formed over hundreds of thousands of years and which consist of complex layers are destroyed in the process of extracting the minerals.
On 20 June, 2010 the Premier, Anna Bligh, announced that her Government would ‘ legislate’ to end mining and that 80% of the Island would be declared National Park by 2027. Unfortunately, the Premier’s announcement to ‘end’ mining was a sham. The plan was to ‘extend’ mining. In March 2011 she introduced special legislation to renew key expired mining leases to allow mining to continue until 2025. Applying existing legislation would have seen mineral sand mining end by 2013.
The premier also falsely claimed that mining could have continued as an economic force on the Island for another ‘200 years’. This was wrong. The mining company itself declared that mining would effectively come to an end anyway by 2027 (see letter from CRL to the ASX under the Library/resources tab– letter pre-dated Sibelco/Unimin’s takeover of CRL’s two mines). This revelation by the miner to the Stock Exchange exposed the Bligh Government’s sham policy.
Despite the policy being exposed as a sham, the Bligh Government in March 2011 introduced legislation to extend expired Bjelke-Petersen era mining leases to allow mining to continue on Enterprise mine, the most destructive mine that has ever existed on the Island. As a result of Bligh Government indecision, Enterprise already had been allowed to operate on a lease which expired on 31 October, 2007 !
All three Island mines are situated on land which the Premier announced will become National Park by 2026.
The Bligh Government policy is to assist a foreign owned company that has shown contempt for our laws and is before the courts on criminal charges, to destroy or damage more of Straddie’s forests, wildlife, ancient dune systems, creeks and other waterbodies – before declaring these areas National Park !
In May, 2009 the miner told the Australian Securities Exchange that half of the mining jobs will go anyway after Yarraman comes to a close, leaving only around 60 jobs (see Library/resources tab for copy of this letter to the ASX) Once mining ends, there will still be at least five years work rehabilitating the three mines – filling in the vast 100 metre deep mine hole at Enterprise, decommissioning the sites and revegetating all three mines. The Government has said that it is holding in excess of $40 million to help ensure that the mining company carries out its rehabilitation obligations.
If employees did not want to be engaged in rehabilitating land damaged by mining activities, Sibelco has nine other mine sites in Queensland and forty around Australia and there are numerous other jobs in mining.
The primary focus needs to be on the future of the Island. Enough damage has been done by mining. Science tells us that in order for the damaged areas to recover to a reasonable standard, it is essential that all remaining original landscape remains intact, to nurture the recovery of the damaged areas. It is therefore time that mining was brought to a speedy end. The idea that you would allow mining in areas that will become National Park is grossly irresponsible and verging on governmental insanity.