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Mining Strategy a Huge Risk

The mining strategy launched at Blackball on the West Coast today by Minister Shane Jones is a huge risk to the environment and a disingenuous promotion of the alleged benefits of mining.

The focus of the launch was RRE (rare earth metals) which by definition are rare in this country and not often found at commercial scale. The real targets of the foreign companies are gold and coal mining. Gold mining is out of date given the amount of gold still available for use already mined and the opportunity for mining e waste to provide minerals such as gold and silver without leaving a toxic legacy.

Coal mining must be phased out to protect the climate and the West Coast needs transitional support to a sustainable economy which doesn’t contribute to climate chaos.

At the Launch the Minister did not mention the risks of mining rare earths metals to workers health and the environment. Mr Jones talks about antimony which is a metal 10 times more toxic than lead, and titanium which is a heavy metal associated with serious lung diseases if exposed to it.

In addition all mining relies on foreign companies who are here to extract the wealth and then leave the toxic waste legacy to the communities who are left with the risks and clean-up costs. 

The Minister’s statement that all stewardship land is open for mining shows he is poorly informed.

The review of stewardship land seems to a have disappeared but the point was that much of that land has high conservation value, contains important biodiversity and provides vital buffers for the Schedule 4 areas.

Mining does not belong on conservation land. 

The Fast Track Bill and the promotion today of the mining lobby agenda is economically short sighted and environmentally reckless.