Cape York plan is focus - QRC

THE PEAK representative body for minerals and energy developers in Queensland has reiterated its commitment to working with the state government for a balanced and productive regional land use plan for Cape York.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said the government’s declaration to ban open cut mining across the entirety of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve was an unexpected blow to QRC member Cape Alumina, the company’s shareholders and to the confidence of the broader junior resources community.

"However, we must respect the government of the day’s right to make decisions in what they consider to be the state’s interests," he said. "The issue now is where to next – and that’s clearly the draft regional plan for Cape York on which the state government is inviting comment until 25 March next year.

"The resources sector has not strayed from its commitment to working with the state government to deliver the best possible outcomes for Cape York, Far North communities and for the environment.

"Open slather mining is not one of the options on the table and nor should it be.

"Mining has played a positive role in the Cape’s history and can play a similar role in its future with a regional plan that recognises and complements the region’s environmental, agricultural and resources strengths.

"‘Weipa’s celebration this week of 50 years’ continuous bauxite mining is tangible evidence of what that one operation has delivered especially in terms of employment and economic opportunity to local indigenous communities.

"‘The state government is offering Queenslanders a once in a lifetime opportunity to plan for the future of Cape York – a land mass bigger than England. It’s therefore essential that we get it right from the start."

Mr Roche said the state government has been at pains to point out that the plan is a draft and that they are open to hearing persuasive arguments for revisions.

"Over coming weeks the QRC and its member companies will bring to the table the rigorous science and evidence needed to demonstrate that projects currently facing some uncertainty under the draft plan can be delivered without detriment to the environmental values of the Cape," he said.

"Queensland has an extremely comprehensive set of requirements relating to the environmental assessment and management of mining, and these should be fully utilised to assess the merits of proposed resource projects.

"Industry working constructively with government is the surest route to delivering certainty for investors and shareholders and large numbers of well paid jobs in the Cape, especially for indigenous communities experiencing horrendous unemployment levels," he said.



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