31/05/2018 - 14:21

Christmas Island mining program rejected

31/05/2018 - 14:21

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The federal government has rejected a mining exploration program by Perth-based CI Resources on Christmas Island that would have extended the company’s existing phosphate operations by up to 10 years.

CI Resources currently operates a phosphate project on Christmas Island.

The federal government has rejected a mining exploration program by Perth-based CI Resources on Christmas Island that would have extended the company’s existing phosphate operations by up to 10 years.

CI Resources, through its subsidiary Phosphate Resources, currently operates a phosphate mine on Christmas Island that it estimates is sustainable until the mid-2020s.

The company had proposed further exploration on the island that it hoped would enable it to continue mining into the 2030s.

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government had refused the program on environmental grounds.

“The government’s decision reflects the fact that Christmas Island is a unique and irreplaceable environment,” he said.

“While there has been some mineral extraction dating back some 100 years, the government has determined that this particular proposal is likely to have unacceptable impacts on the environment of Christmas Island, including the endangered Abbott’s Booby, whose rainforest home on the Island is the only remaining nesting habitat for this bird in the world, and the endangered cave fern.

“There is also a very real threat that this pattern of clearing would allow the introduction of aggressive weed species with the capacity to overwhelm native vegetation and to alter the structure of the surrounding forest.”

In the company’s 2017 annual report, chairman David Somerville said the program would have required about 130 hectares for mining, which represents less than 1 per cent of the total island.

Shares in CI finished up 3.4 per cent at $1.81 each.

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