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North Stradbroke Island mining: How many jobs are at stake?

Richard Carew reports in the Brisbane Times (10.3.16) on questions over the extent of the impact on local jobs of the closure of Sibelco’s sand mining operations on North Stradbroke Island.

‘In the debate over when sand mining should end on North Stradbroke Island, there is an astonishing lack of clarity about an important issue – the number of jobs at stake.

‘Australian Bureau of Statistics figures from 2011 (the last published census) indicated that there were just over 100 miners living and working on North Stradbroke. But there were three sand mines operating then. Now there is only one – the so-called ‘Enterprise’ mine.

‘Some submissions to the current Stradbroke sand mining Bills Inquiry by the Finance and Administration Committee are illuminating on the jobs issue. For example, one submission (no. 234) from a long-term resident who has closely canvassed the issue ‘on the ground’ puts the current number of island resident miners at under 50. This submission is supported by others from residents. There are also a similar number of mine employees travelling from their homes on the mainland each day by water taxi and returning home after work. Everyone who lives or spends time regularly on the Island knows this.

‘But to boost its quest to keep mining going until its desired end of 2027, privately owned Belgian mining company Sibelco has spread exaggerated claims of job losses of up to 600 to build up fear and support.’

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