A mine is lot more than ‘a hole in the ground’

Written by Steve Scott     April 30 2022 at 6:02 PM


I’m Steve Scott, the General Manager of Rosebery Mine and I’d like to take the opportunity to give some insights into who, what, and why we’re proud of the work we do.

What I see in a mine is a community made up of hundreds of diverse people, working together on tough and technical jobs, supporting each other while earning a living for their families – good spirited Tasmanians giving their all.

In the case of MMG Rosebery, our mine has been the beating heart of the town for more than 86 years mining zinc, copper and lead concentrates, and gold doré, all whilst providing 500 regional jobs.

It’s the kind of business, the kind of community – and the kind of people – that built Tasmania because our impact on employment and supply chains extends much further across our state than just the town we live in.


A future for Rosebery?

The future for Rosebery looks very bright.

We have discovered more resources underground that could extend the mine’s life beyond 2040. Metals critical to a low carbon future, produced right here in Tasmania, at best global standards for safety, community and environment.

But that future is not guaranteed.

The mine cannot continue to operate unless we have somewhere to safely and securely store tailings – the left-over crushed rock and residue material from mineral processing. Our existing facilities are old and rapidly reaching the end of their life. It will soon be time for them to be closed and rehabilitated with native vegetation.

What we really need is a new facility to store our tailings.


‘Peaceful’ Protest

At Rosebery, we love the nature that surrounds us. We have been co-existing with this unique environment for almost a century. When we recognised the need to expand our footprint, we searched for the lowest impact. That was found in 2008 at South Marionoak and we took a mining lease over the land.

South Marionoak sits outside of areas considered to be high-conservation value forest. The site has been historically logged and disturbed by a power corridor and a large fire break.  The next step is to access the site to do the geological and natural surveys to prove up our assessment.

However, since 2013 a new line on the map from a conservation group says that this site is now closed to all future use, except their own.  The area is falsely claimed to be pristine and this movement will not negotiate, despite championing a clean energy future that is only possible using minerals dug up from the ground.

The access to conduct environmental assessments has been blockaded, as has the right of the general public to use the same road. The safety of workers and emergency services has been put at risk by dangerous protest tactics, and our people have been subjected to threats, abuse and intimidation.

We respect people’s right to peaceful protest, but there is nothing peaceful about this.


What next?

It is pretty simple from here.

If we can’t build a new dam the site shuts in its 92nd year. The town loses its heart and 500 families lose their jobs.

We’ve looked at every option. ‘Paste fill’ a technology enthusiastically publicised by some as a cure-all, is not feasible or safe at Rosebery due to the age and layout of the mine. Other sites have been looked at, but they are no better in terms of environmental impacts.

We need to go through a full State and Commonwealth assessment process with many approvals yet to be sought, and many opportunities for people to have their say on the project as part of this process.

We genuinely want to find a balanced outcome that allows for co-existence with the community and environment, and we believe the decisions that lie ahead should be grounded in fact.

The Rosebery Mine is not just a hole in the ground, it’s a lifeline to an entire community.


Steve Scott
General Manager – Rosebery

To contact Rosebery please call 1800 ROS MMG (1800 767 664 )
or email ROSCommunity@mmg.com


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