Miners are preparing for an exploration boom in Tasmania's north-west after the Federal Government rejected a bid to put large parts of the area on the National Heritage list.
Tasmania's resource-rich Tarkine region is also home to the largest temperate rainforest in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Australian Heritage Council had advised the Government to list more than 400,000 hectares of the Tarkine on the National Heritage Register.
But Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke rejected that advice, saying he is confident existing protections in the area are sufficient.
Instead just a narrow 21,000 hectare strip of coastline will be protected for its Aboriginal heritage.
State Premier Lara Giddings says that paves the way for the expansion of mining activities.
"The potential of many, many more jobs and for many, many more years ahead," she said.
Minerals Council spokesman Terry Long says miners with exploration leases will now ramp up prospecting efforts.
"Had they not had the ability to go ahead, the future of the mining industry would've been foreclosed," he said.
"When the existing mines become uneconomical - were mined out - the mining industry as we know it would've folded into oblivion.
"But this gives us new life, and a future, and the chance for employment over the coming decades." He says there is a chance of finding silver, lead, zinc, gold, iron ore, tin and tungsten in the region.
Several mining projects are already planned for the Tarkine, including a tin and magnetite mine at Mount Lindsay being developed by West Australian company Venture Minerals.
Mr Burke .
Greens leader Christine Milne described the decision as a "crime against the environment".
"What possible justification can an environment minister have for abandoning the environment to the mining industry?" she said.
But Mr Burke said it would have been "disastrous" for potential mining jobs in the area if he had followed the council's advice.
"From purely environmental terms, it would have been something that would have been a wonderful thing to be able to do but you have to take into account the impact on people and taking that impact into account meant that I simply couldn't go with the Heritage Council's recommendations," he said.
He has already approved a magnetite mine, but has applied conditions aimed at protecting Tasmanian devils and quolls from being killed by traffic on new roads through the area.
The decision it is likely to be seen by Labor sources as helpful for the party in the marginal federal seat of Braddon.
It also has the potential to place further strain on the Labor-Greens state minority government.
While Labor supports the decision, Greens cabinet ministers Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor have been vocal advocates for the protection of the Tarkine, which includes populations of Tasmanian devils free of the facial tumour disease.