Government Wrong on Proposed Limmen Park

The Minerals Council of Australia has called on the Northern Territory Government to urgently explain comments made yesterday by Minister Karl Hampton over its intentions regarding the Roper Region and the proposed Limmen Park. The Executive Director of the NT Division, Mr Peter Stewart said that the Minister?s comments appear to reflect poor advice regarding the regions ability to support a number of interests including indigenous regional economic development, exploration, conservation, recreation and pastoral activities. Yesterday Minister Hampton was reported as suggesting that the government was committed to declaring a park in the very near future, but refused to say whether mining would be allowed, despite ongoing investment and activity in region by a number of companies operating under permits issued by the NT Government. ?The industry is clearly concerned at the risks and uncertainty these comments create in the market and the impact these comments have on a range of stakeholders? expectations in the region,? he said. Mr Stewart outlined that the companies operating in the region are in discussions with traditional owners regarding future jobs and economic opportunities for the region that will come with any future mining activities. ?These opportunities would be lost if the Minister?s comments are accurate,? said Mr Stewart. ?Our view continues to be that a thorough and robust process of planning and consultation will allow the entire region to support a number of complimentary activities. Unfortunately, the comments attributed to the Minister appear to reflect the expectations of one vested interest group at the expense of all other stakeholders in the region and we are concerned that all stakeholders? interests are not being equally considered? Mr Stewart said. In addition, Mr Stewart criticised images published yesterday of the Lost Cities sandstone formation which indicated the formation was under threat from potential mining activities. ?The focus of exploration activities by a number of companies in the region are 70 kilometres from these formations,? said Mr Stewart. ?The exploration companies have previously pointed out that the existing exploration leases cover tracts of degraded pastoral lands comprising flat open scrub, not the rock formations shown in reports yesterday.? ?Unfortunately vested interest groups sometimes like to strengthen their messages by indicating that pristine areas are under threat,? he said. Mr Stewart called on the Territory Government to invite all stakeholders to participate as equal partners in a robust and thorough consultative process and establish a regional plan that supports the complimentary use of land in the region for a number of purposes.