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EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT



EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT


Environment Centre NT


EnvironmeNT; E-Journals; PublicationNT; EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT






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Environment Centre N.T; Ecology; Periodicals

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Environment Centre NT

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EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT

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July/August 2004 Page 3 Tiwi logging: the plot thickens "Aggressive expansion" proposed The Sylvatech Pty Ltd forestry project on the Tiwi Islands is looking to expand - massively! According to a newspaper advertisement placed in the Australian on 29 May 2004, the company wants to recruit "several young, energetic professional foresters" to facilitate its "aggressive expansion program" on the Tiwi Is. Currently Sylvatech has NT and Commonwealth government approval to destroy approx. 25,000 hectares of beautiful old growth forest on Melville Is for woodchip plantations. Now it wants to establish "up to 100,000 hectares of short rotation plantation". The plantations are a monoculture of the exotic Acacia mangium species, being grown for woodchips to export to Japan. The Environment Centre is very concerned about the impacts of the existing operation, let alone a four-fold "aggressive" expansion. We are very concerned that the local Tiwi Indigenous communities are not being fully informed as to what Sylvatech's plans are and what the impacts will be on their environment, economic future, culture and lifestyle. The NT Government, which has backed this project, needs to step in to ensure that the Tiwi community, and environment, are protected from aggressive woodchip corporations whose plans may hold little long term benefit to the community while doing massive harm to ecosystems and sustainable development opportunities. Fixing up the mining mess: Rehabilitation bonds for NT mines The Environment Centre has finally received information on the amount of rehabilitation bond held by the Government for each (major) mine in the NT both closed mines and currently operating mines. The information was produced in response to questions asked on our behalf by Independent MP Gerry Woods MLA. Below is the table provided by the Department of Mines. Closed mines Security Departments comments Annie mine $5,000 --- Brocks Creek $500,000 Bank guarantee Cosmo Howley/Burnside $50,000 Bank guarantee Gecko (see Warrego) --- See Warrego Merlin $175,000 Bank guarantee Orlando $20,000 Bank guarantee Rustlers Roost $1,500 Cash Sandy Flat (see Redbank) --- See Redbank Tanami JV (see Granites) --- Included in Granites security TC8 $6,000 Cash Warrego Rehab deed trust fund; Value: $4,500,000 White Devil (see Warrego) --- See Warrego White Range $10,000 Cash Woodcutters $2,200,000 Bank guarantee Mt Todd (Yimuyn Manjerr) Trust fund Approx $200,000 remaining from $900,000 bond Operating mines Security Department's comments Alcan Gove $2,000,000 Held by Commonwealth NT bond under negotiation Chariot $75,000 Cash Gemco $12,000,000 Bank guarantee Groundrush (see Granites) --- Included in Granites security McArthur River $3,872,025 Bank guarantee Mudtank $15,000 Cash Ranger $38,847,481 Rehab Trust Account: Comm Granites $11,828,649 Bank guarantee Toms Gully $20,000 Cash Union Reefs $500,000 Bank guarantee Although the NT government says it is now a requirement1 that all mines have rehabilitation bonds in place, it is very unclear just how the amount of those bonds is determined, how and when they are accessed, and how secure some of the bonds are in reality. As you can see, some are very small and unlikely to cover the costs of rehab. This is very important because to the extent that the community is repeatedly told how beneficial mining is to our economy, this benefit is undermined(!) if the mining companies leave behind a legacy of environmental damage that the community has to pay to fix up (as is the case at Mt Todd where it is estimated there is a $20 million rehabilitation debt that the public will probably have to pay). 1 Under Section 166b of the Mines Act, the Minister for Mines may require a security from a mining company for rehabilitation. The form and amount of the bond is up to the Ministers discretion.