Election threat over Century mine

Issue 

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE Premier Rob Borbidge on April 13 threatened to call a state election over Aboriginal opposition to the huge Century Zinc mine project in the far north of the state.

After a confrontation with Carpentaria Land Council coordinator Murrandoo Yanner at Normanton, Borbidge said, "I am not ruling anything out or in that includes a legislative response and if necessary reference to the people".

Borbidge said he would consider legislation to override Aboriginal land rights in order to give the $1 billion Century Zinc project the green light.

Earlier, Yanner had led a mass walkout of 200 Aboriginal people from a meeting in the Normanton Shire Hall, accusing Borbidge of "marching in with bully boys and intimidation tactics".

He denied he was against the Century mine itself only the mine's pipeline, which will convey the ore 300 km west to the Gulf of Carpentaria. "I'm not saying 'No' to the mine, but I'm supported by 95% of Aboriginal people in opposing the pipeline", he said.

Aboriginal communities and conservationists are concerned about the drastic effects of the project on the environment and Aboriginal sacred sites.

Alternatives proposed to the pipeline plan include re-routing it east to Townsville, where a deepwater harbour already exists, or putting the pipeline under ground.