Anti-mine activists prepare for Tarkine battle

Another bitter environmental war is looming in Tasmania after the first mine approval in almost 20 years.

Shree Minerals has waited two years for approval to develop an open cut iron ore mine at Nelson Bay River in the Tarkine region, the last stronghold of healthy Tasmanian devils.

Many of the 29 conditions imposed on the $20 million project are designed to protect the species.

They include only driving mining vehicles during the day and funding a devil monitoring strategy.

The Minerals Council's Terry Long questions whether they are practical and the extent to which they are there to please conservationists and the Greens.

The Tarkine National Coalition's Scott Jordan says the conditions are useless.

"They can't compensate once the devil's gone, you know, that money won't bring them back," he said.

He has described the approval as a "complete betrayal" and renewed threats to block construction of the mine.

In the past six weeks, he says more than 800 people have joined its campaign to protect the Tarkine.

"We will be there on the ground with direct action to stop the construction of the mine, we will be out there in the financial markets doing what we can to undermine the viability of these projects financially." The Australian Workers Union says the mine will be subject to some of the strictest environmental conditions ever imposed in Tasmania.

Spokesman Ian Wakefield says the project has the support of most north-west Tasmanians.

"Three-and-a-half thousand people attended the rally in Burnie a couple of weeks ago; nearly 7,000 people signed a petition that was presented to the minister a couple of weeks ago as well," he said.

"That's a significant voice of the people of the north-west of Tasmania that are concerned about having a sensible balance between conservation and mining." The Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, says Venture Minerals is also expecting a decision on its Tarkine mine proposal before Christmas.

"It's clear that the Minister is now going to give a serial roll-out of mining ticks against conservation interests," Senator Milne said.

"We're likely to see a National Heritage listing with huge areas excised for mining and the Minister smiling in the middle saying 'look at me, I've balanced environment and mining outcomes'."

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