Tasmanian mineral exploration is under threat and the state government should enter a legal row between environmentalists and miner MMG, Labor says.
Shadow Resources Minister Shane Broad said the government was standing by as the Bob Brown Foundation threatened Rosebery Mine owner MMG with legal action if it proceeded with test drilling at its preferred site for a new tailings storage.
MMG says it will need a new storage solution by 2024 if mining is to continuebeyond then.
Dr Broad said the foundation appeared to be arguing that, because the test drilling might lead to construction of a tailings dam, any works would require full assessment under federal law.
"MMG have all the state-based approvals they need to do test drilling on their mining lease," Dr Broad said.
"This means that if this legal threat stands, the government will provide a pathway for the BBF to use the same threat to veto any drilling on any mining lease that may or may not lead to a mine being built, unless there is a full EPBC assessment.
"Why hasn't the government offered to become a party to challenge the BBF's legal threats and defend the legal basis of state exploration approvals?"
Braddon Liberal MHA Felix Ellis said the government had been clear in its support of MMG's proposal, subject to the appropriate assessment and approvals process.
"Embarrassingly, the state member for Braddon, Shane Broad, and federal candidate for the same seat Chris Lynch found themselves on opposite sides of the fence on jobs at the Rosebery Mine," he said
"Where Dr Broad (on Wednesday) attempted to muddy the waters, Mr Lynch is already on the record saying it was a tricky question when asked if he supported Rosebery miner MMG or the Bob Brown Foundation.
"It is painfully clear that Labor's internal war is still in full swing, with the dominant hard left faction continuing to put their party over people and workers."
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