The Tasmanian state government is considering deferring royalty payments from Shree Minerals new iron ore mine in the state’s Tarkine region.
Premier Lara Giddings said the royalty deferment would bolster employment and firm up the company’s long term future in the state.
“The Shree mine is creating up to 120 new jobs and providing significant spin-offs for the North-West Coast and wider Tasmanian economy,” Giddings said.
The announcement coincided with Shree’s first iron ore shipment from the Nelson Bay River mine on Saturday.
Bound for China, the 42,000 tonne shipment is also the first consignment of direct shipping ore from Tasmania.
Giddings said working with Shree to strike a royalty deferment deal is a “priority” for the government.
“I recognise the commitment of Shree Minerals to stick with this project despite the frustration we shared over the lengthy appeal process that followed approval of the mine by State and Commonwealth Governments,” Giddings said.
Minister for Energy and Resources Bryan Green said the first shipment is a significant milestone, marking the first of around 400,000 tonnes or iron ore expected to be exported out of Burnie each year.
“This is a very significant boost in bulk mineral exports through the Burnie port and highlights what a key industry mining is for Tasmania and the potential for further jobs,” he said.
“Shree estimates a 10-year mine life but subject to further exploration a second stage of the mine could extend the operation by up to 30 years.”
Green said the government is committed to ensuring more mines get the go ahead in the state.
Officially opening the mine in November, Shree battled a protracted approvals process which saw court injunctions and protests levelled against the company.
In April conservationists took their fight to the Federal Court, challenging the then federal environment minister’s project approval.
At the time the Federal Court ruled former environmental minister Tony Burke did not give "genuine consideration" to conservation advice on the Tasmanian devil.
But in July the new environment minister Mark Butler re-approved the $20 million project, attaching 30 strict conditions.
The conditions included prohibiting travel to and from the mine site outside daylight hours (except for emergency vehicles), a reduced speed limit, regular clearing of road ways and surrounding verges, and clear signage.