Open for mining

Deputy Premier Bryan Green with Shree Minerals chairman Sanjay Loyalka at last Thursday’s official mine opening. Picture: Jelena Potpara.

Mine. After much opposition and a stringent set of guidelines to follow, Shree Minerals held an official opening on Thursday to signal the start of operation at its Nelson Bay River iron ore mine.

Excavation at the site is expected to begin this week, with the first shipment of iron ore in December, and most likely to China.

Shree Minerals chairman Sanjay Loyalka welcomed those present, including Deputy Premier Bryan Green, who officially opened the mine.

Mr Loyalka commented on the response the company had received from the Circular Head community. “The support and affection we have received from the local community has been a heart warming experience,” he said.

“Engaging with and playing a positive role in the local community has always been a focus for the company.”

Mayor Daryl Quilliam said it was a great day of celebration, not only for Circular Head but the north west and Tasmania as a whole. He welcomed the 120 new jobs, as well as add-on jobs that would come from the mining project.

The mine is expected to produce 400,000 tonnes of iron-ore annually for the next two to three years, with the mine’s life span expected to be 10 years.

Directors of the mine said, with further exploration, they hoped to extend that life span by 30 years.

Collins Contracting, of Smithton, has the job of excavating the ore, following the company’s earlier work of clearing the mine site ready for operation.

At the opening, operations manager Hugh Gilbery explained the mine’s 154-hectare footprint.

“If you live on a quarter of an acre in town, it sounds like an awful lot,” Mr Gilbery said. “If you’re in the mining industry … it’s small. Our footprint for mining is very, very small.”

Following the opening, Save the Tarkine’s Scott Jordan said the group will continue to campaign against the operation of the mine, describing the day as a shameful one for the protection of the environment.

However, when Mr Loyalka was asked if he was wary of future protests, he said he remained optimistic and had “faith in the system”.

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