Lodging An Objection to A Mining Exploration Lease
Firstly lodging and official objection is not a waste of time and money.
It is true that 'Official Objections' may not stop a mining lease from being issued. However they are the only recognised method for putting landowner's / title holder's concerns on the public record. It shows, if nothing else, that there are people who are prepared to put their money where there mouth is ... and say "NO!"
Don't forget to Keep A Copy of your Objection for future reference!
Photocopy or scan and save your objection to the mining / exploration lease before sending it in to Mineral Resources Tasmania AND keep the receipt as proof that it was Officially Lodged (if you get in early enough you can lodge and pay through Service TAS). Ask them to give you a photocopy of your date-stamped and receipted application.
Our Objection (lodged at Service TAS Weds. March 30, 2011):
My wife and I object to the application for, issuing and/or granting of, any mining related lease in the greater Cygnet area, but specifically with relation to our titles in Petcheys Bay.
Any mining and/or exploration activities WILL negatively impact the natural values of what is a sensitive and still recovering native ecology. We purchased our two titles (approx 78 acres) specifically for the purposes of creating a quiet and tranquil home, as well as providing a refuge for indigenous flora and fauna.
Further, we believe that the invasion of privacy, land disturbance, noise and heavy traffic increase associated with any aspect of mining and/or exploration are totally incongruous with this region and the lifestyle/attitude/inclination and needs of the region’s inhabitants.
Unofficial Objections - Looking in from the outside.
I have spoken to some residents who are disgusted with the idea that any one should have to pay to lodge an objection. Particularly, to something that could have such a fundamental impact on their life as mineral exploration (and more-so any subsequent mining).
And what about pensioners and low income families, for whom the fee may actually be an unexpected and unwanted financial burden? It appears that free speech does in fact have a monetary value.
So, though they intend to write, or have already written, to the minister for Energy and Resources, they refuse to pay the 'application fee' on principal. Even though this is a 'noble' sentiment, it does mean they will have NO legal status once proceedings get under way. They will not be invited to attend or be heard at any subsequent mediation hearings ... and their objections/comments may not be available on the public record.
All public outcry will assist and contribute to a possible No Mining outcome for the Cygnet area. Official objections will carry more weight ... it is as simple as that.
In this situation, numbers matter!
Grounds for Objecting to A Mining Exploration Lease
There is nothing under the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995
Section 15. Objection to exploration licence to indicate what actually constitutes a valid objection. That is, one that will have to be dealt with and cannot simply be ignored.
The following information has been gleaned from a variety of sources often based on discussions with persons at MRT.
Since I have personally experienced differing opinions (amounting to misinformation in some cases) from different persons within MRT, any and all information presented here should be considered as a 'guide-line' only.
Some Items That Could Make An Objection Valid
- A Covenant Over A Land Title - A covenant describes conditions, requirements and obligations placed on Title Holders with respect to their ownership of the land title. For example a conservation covenant, as a legally binding document issued by the state, would generally create substantial grounds for the exclusion of any mining from the title area covered by the covenant (thereby making mining exploration pointless).
- Environmental and/or Conservation Values - This could include habitat for, or the presence of, Protected and/or Endangered Species of Flora & Fauna on or in the vicinity of a land title. To a lesser degree, Natural Values that might be considered to be in the broader public interest like properties registered under the 'Land For Wildlife scheme (LFW)' or similar private nature reserves.
- Social & Historical Values may include properties with areas of community and/or historical interest where buildings and their grounds have a cultural significance. This may include early settlement and aboriginal sites (habitation/middens).
- Water Supply - Under Section 19a of the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 relating to Exploration licence over private land it clearly states ...
The holder of an exploration licence must not explore on private land without the consent of the owner and occupier of the land within 100 metres of the surface of –
(a) any natural lake, artificial lake, dam, reservoir, water-producing well or artificial pond; or
(b) any dwelling or substantial building.
Even a sequence of small dams, ponds or water wells (particularly if they happen to be less than 200m apart) should therefore create grounds to disallow exploration over a very substantial area, given that the owner's/occupier's consent is required.
A 100m radius (from a point) covers 31,415.9 m2 (3.14 Ha) or roughly 7.76 acres.