Fresh claims of unlawful Stradbroke Island sand sales

By Conor Duffy

“Riverside Industrial Sands was not previously aware of the conditions attached to Sibelco Australia Limited’s sand mining lease on the sale by Sibelco of mineral sands,” it said.

For decades Belgian mining giant Sibelco and its predecessors shipped as much as a million tonnes of building sand off the island, as well as the higher grade mineral sand they are entitled too on their lease.

Riverside Sands is a longstanding customer of Belgian mining giant Sibelco, which operates Stradbroke Island’s three mining leases.

“Sibelco can take Silica sand if it’s used for its chemical properties - glass making, if it mines it for use for landscaping or building and construction purposes - it has to have local government approval and it didn’t have that so it’s been doing it unlawfully,” said lawyer Richard Carew, who represents traditional owners.

In the recording made in February last year and obtained by 7:30, the investigator poses as a homeowner wanting North Stradbroke island sand for a rendering job – a purpose courts have found to be in breach of the mining permit.

Traditional owners engaged a private detective who made a recording they say shows a Brisbane landscape supply company called Riverside Sands offering sand for sale.

Sibelco and its predecessors on the island believe the prosecution is unfair saying they had always paid royalties on all sand that left Stradbroke Island.

As one of Queensland’s longest running environmental prosecutions draws to a close, the ABC has been given fresh evidence that unlawful sales of Stradbroke Island sand have continued even as the court case has been underway.

Photo: Belgian mining giant Sibelco operates Stradbroke Island’s three mining leases.

In a statement the company said: “Sibelco has at all times been transparent with the relevant government departments about the nature of the products supplied their intended purposes and paid the appropriate royalties”.

Read more here: ABC


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