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Gunns pulp mill project permit questioned

TASMANIA'S environment regulator has asked Gunns to defend the validity of the $2.3 billion pulp mill project's permit, amid claims it has lapsed.

TASMANIA'S environment regulator has asked Gunns to defend the validity of the $2.3 billion pulp mill project's permit, amid claims it has lapsed.

Pushed through state parliament at the forestry company's behest in 2007, the permit required Gunns to "substantially commence" the controversial project by August 30. The Tasmanian Environment Protection Authority's director, Alex Schaap, said yesterday a request by Gunns to make a minor variation of the project's stormwater plan triggered a need for him to examine the permit's validity.

Four weeks after going into a trading halt, Gunns issued a market update saying it would advise the government by tomorrow whether it had accepted a settlement offer. The settlement would extinguish the company's residual legal rights over native forest contracts and resolve disputed debts Gunns owes to the state timber agency, Forestry Tasmania.


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