The biggest planned mine in Tasmania for half a century has been granted a mining lease.
Resources Minister Paul Harriss announced yesterday he had issued a lease to Forward Mining for its proposed iron ore mine at Rogetta, just south of Hampshire.
It could be part of a suite of new and revitalised mining projects for the region that will mean a major boost for the economy and jobs.
Mr Harriss said the project had the potential to create hundreds of jobs.
"As with all mining projects, the mining lease is just one part of the approval process and all proposals must comply with the relevant legislation and regulations before mining can commence," Mr Harriss said.
"It's hoped Forward Mining can start construction next year with operations commencing in early 2017.
"Up to 200 direct jobs are expected to be created during construction and 100 through the life of the project and we know that, with the mining multiplier effect, this could lead to even more indirect jobs in the local economy."
Burnie Mayor Anita Dow said it was exciting news for the region.
"The proposed iron ore mine will certainly bring much-needed direct and indirect employment opportunities and many economic benefits to our community," Ald Dow said.
"I congratulate Forward Mining for their confidence and interest in our region. It is the first step in the approval process and another step closer to this project coming to fruition."
TMEC’s CEO Wayne Bould said if the Rogetta project did proceed, along with the potential restart of mining at Avebury and Mt Lyell, the industry would be back on track.
"Hopefully the project will proceed and be financially viable," Mr Bould said.
"It will put the industry back on track and recover to where we were prior to the GFC [global financial crisis].
"We've taken a few hits with Shree and the issues at Mt Lyell so this kind of turnaround would be very well received."
Federal Member for Braddon Brett Whiteley said the announcement highlighted the importance of the government's One-Stop Shop legislation currently before the Senate.
"A One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals will halve the red-tape and timeframe for Forward Mining to begin construction while maintaining important safeguards," Mr Whiteley said.
"We need to do everything we can to get this project off the ground quickly and get local workers into these jobs ASAP."
The mine is expected to produce one million tonnes of magnetite a year, with the ore being trucked to the Burnie Port for export.
Mr Harriss said this was a vote of confidence in Tasmania's mining industry and showed that mining companies continued to want to invest in our state.