Royalty deferral considered

THE state government is considering a request to defer taking mining royalties from Shree Minerals' new iron-ore mine.

Premier Lara Giddings yesterday said a royalty deferral would help secure the company's long-term future in Tasmania, following a ``protracted and vexatious'' court appeals process.

``The Shree mine is creating up to 120 new jobs and providing significant spin-offs for the North-West Coast and wider Tasmanian economy,'' Ms Giddings said.

``I recognise the commitment of Shree Minerals to stick with this project, despite the frustration we shared over the lengthy appeals process that followed approval of the mine by state and Commonwealth governments.''

Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim hit back at the announcement, calling it ``corporate welfare''.

``This is money that is being denied to every other business in Tasmania, and could be used to support our small local businesses who are the engine room of Tasmania's economy, or to better fund our schools or hospitals,'' Mr McKim said.

He said the project appeared to have flipped from being financially sustainable to ``having to hold out the begging bowl overnight''.

The company, which yesterday sent its first shipment of 42,000 tonnes of ore from Tasmania to China, expects to export 400,000 tonnes from Burnie annually.

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