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New tailings facility critical to Rosebery survival

MMG is committed to finding the safest and most balanced solution to allow the Rosebery Mine to continue to operate and support the jobs of 500 Tasmanians.

The simple reality is that without a new Tailings Storage Facility (TSF), the mine will be forced to close by 2024.

The ‘alternatives’ that have been put forward by the Bob Brown Foundation are not informed by science, engineering or knowledge of the Rosebery site and the mine operation. Above all, they are not safe.

The two facilities we currently use for tailings storage are nearing their full and safe capacity. We have plans in place over the coming years to increase the capacity by raising walls and changing the way we deposit tailings, however, this will still only provide tailings storage until 2024 for the Rosebery Mine. Making further changes beyond what we have planned to these facilities could diminish the safety and stability of the infrastructure.

The mining industry has learned from international disasters caused by tailings facilities being expanded beyond their operational limits. MMG will not take risks with the safety of our employees, the community or the environment.

The option of a paste fill facility at the Rosebery Mine has been thoroughly explored over many years and ruled out due to a combination of environmental, geological, operational and extreme safety constraints. The 85 year old underground mine is not designed to cope with paste fill and doing so would destabilise mine workings and place our workforce at direct risk of harm.

MMG operates both a paste fill plant and tailings storage facility at its Dugald River Mine in Queensland, which has been designed from its inception to operate in this way. It should be noted that paste fill does not eliminate the need for a tailings storage facility as it is only suitable for a portion of tailings generated.

MMG has been reviewing a number of possible sites since 2008 and done extensive work into maximising current facilities and other options available. We have sought expert advice, conducted risk assessments and progressed the options that were deemed to offer the most balanced solution in terms of social and environmental impact. To date, the site that offers this is South Marionoak.

An alternative site we continue to explore is Natone Creek as listed in our Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act referral, however, this site is yet to be proven as a viable and safe location for a tailings storage facility and is of a similar landscape to South Marionoak. We reiterate there is no solution that has no impact.

Other alternative sites previously considered have been ruled out because of their greater environmental impact or engineering and safety risks.

Decisions about the future of the Rosebery Mine and its 500 employees should be guided by facts, science, and engineering, not by those making uninformed suggestions who have no technical expertise or experience in the management of safe tailings storage.

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