The Tasmanian Supreme Court ruled, on December 17, 2014, in favour of the Tarkine National Coalition (represented by EDO Tasmania) in their challenge to the EPA Director’s decision to permit above-ground storage of potentially acid-forming waste material at Nelson Bay River mine.
Justice Estcourt was satisfied that the change, which allowed up to 230,000m3 of waste to be stored in a pile up to 20m high, was a fundamental change and went beyond the power of the EPA Director.
In November 2013, the EPA issued an environment protection notice (EPN) permitting Shree Minerals to store acid-forming mine waste above ground after it was discovered that the mine would produce 20 times more waste than originally approved. Given the risks of aboveground storage identified by the EPA Board’s original assessment, the decision to issue the EPN was concerning.
Operations at the Nelson Bay River mine have been suspended since June 2014 due to dropping iron ore prices and transport costs.
A huge thanks to our stellar legal team – barristers, Jeremy Gobbo QC, EDO's Adam Beeson, barrister Juliet Forsyth, our volunteers, Frances Spry and Rafael Szumer – and to Scott Jordan of Save the Tarkine.
The Nelson Bay iron ore mine in the Tarkine forest. Photo by Dan Broun.