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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Solid quarter for Zinifex

MiningNews.net + Solid quarter for Zinifex

MAJOR zinc and lead producer Zinifex is cashing in on the base metals boom with production from its operations "comfortably" ahead of the previous year despite a planned rebuild of the roaster at its Hobart refinery.

Early days at the Century operation

During the March quarter, Zinifex produced 379,462 tonnes of lead and zinc, up from 371,086t in the corresponding quarter but down on the previous quarter's result of 406,384t.

"The March quarter was broadly in line with our expectations from an operational perspective but notable for the large uplift in zinc prices that occurred," Zinifex said.

"Total metal and concentrate produced in the quarter exceeded the same quarter last year despite a planned rebuild of the Hobart roaster, which was largely responsible for the 10% shortfall against the December quarter."

Zinifex is cashing in on surging commodity prices, with zinc averaging $A3050 per tonne during the March quarter and lead consolidating at an average of $1685/t.

At Zinifex's mainstay Century mine in Queensland, zinc-in-concentrate production was 13% higher than the corresponding period last year, which was affected by a SAG mill motor failure.

Like many of its counterparts, climatic conditions played its part with zinc and lead concentrate sales lagging behind production following a number of weather-related shipping delays, and a late wet season hampering pit operations at Century during the quarter.

Elsewhere, Zinifex said the ramp up to increase zinc production to 260,000t per annum at its Budel refinery in the Netherlands is nearing completion, with commissioning scheduled for the June quarter and production expected to reach full capacity in the first half of the next financial year.

However, the company said market electricity prices remain high with little prospect of relief in the foreseeable future.

Shares in the company hit a 52-week low of $2.63 in May before gaining ground to hit a 52-week high of $11.68 last week. The stock shed 41c (3.8%) during morning trade to $10.40.

Click here to read the rest of today's news stories.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Jinchuan backs Allegiance in $US1.3 billion deal

MiningNews.net + Jinchuan backs Allegiance in $US1.3 billion deal

CHINA'S largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group has thrown its support behind Allegiance Mining and its Avebury project in Tasmania, signing a $US1.3 billion ($A1.76 billion) off-take agreement for all the concentrates produced from the current resource.

"Jinchuan have offered a very favourable off-take agreement and it gets us on the way, but it is restricted by definition to a certain area and we believe the potential area for mineralisation is much greater," Allegiance chairman Tony Howland-Rose told MiningNews.net.

"One of the foundation stones is having an off-take contract so people know what you're doing is real and there is somebody there willing to buy it, should you produce it."

Production estimates from the current resources are pegged at 70,000 tonnes of contained nickel metal-in-concentrate, and Jinchuan has also been provided with first rights to enter into negotiations for securing additional concentrates sourced from new resources.

"They [Jinchuan] also have expertise which I think is a really important thing at this time because … Australia in particular is very short of skills in various areas and Jinchuan is very eager to assist us should we not be able to get Australian expertise," Howland-Rose said.

"They're nickel experts, which is very relevant."

In addition, Jinchuan will provide the budding nickel producer with a $5 million subordinated loan and will make available technical support in the form of metallurgical experts.

Howland-Rose said the company was reviewing earlier production estimates – originally flagged at an initial 5700t per annum start-up before ramping up production to more than 10,000t – adding if the figures come out right "it maybe a bit higher than that".

"Our drilling has been reasonably successful … and we do believe there is significantly more nickel to be had, not only along the line there but in the region, so I think there is good cause to think a little bigger than we have been," he said.

In addition, Howland-Rose said it could be time for a re-rating of the small company.

"I think the thing that will give us a re-rating is the off-take contract because obviously Jinchuan doesn't muck around, they're quite professional in what they do and they've been familiar with our deposit since the earliest days."

The $A77 million project is expected to come online early next year. On initial reserves, the project has a net present value of $26 million and in internal rate of return of 17%, but the company's business plan envisages a NPV of $94 million with an IRR of 29%.

The business plan involves the rapid expansion of resources and reserves at Avebury this year during the construction phase. Allegiance used a nickel price and cobalt price of $US12,000t in the study and an exchange rate of 0.735.

Shares in Allegiance hit a 52-week low of 10.5c in May before gaining ground to hit a 52-week high of 43c this week. The stock climbed 7.5c (25.9%) during morning trade to 36.5c.

Click here to read the rest of today's news stories.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Australia on the Map � Tasmanian program launched - - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Australia on the Map � Tasmanian program launched - - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

A program of 27 activities highlighting Tasmania’s role in the nation’s rich maritime history was launched in Hobart today.

The events – including community festivals and ship visits - are part of the Australia on the Map project aimed at enhancing knowledge and understanding of Australia’s maritime heritage, beginning in 1606 with the voyages of Janszoon and Torres.

It focuses on the many mariners who, whether by accident or design, charted the country’s coasts and put “Australia on the Map”.

Tasmanian program patron Sir Guy Green said that familiar names such as Tasman, Van Diemen, Du Fresne and D’Entrecasteaux show that Tasmania has always been aware of the diversity of its history.

“The Tasmanian program looks at this history, and considers not only the comings and goings of the Europeans, but a range of other themes,” Sir Guy said.

“These include the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, the difficulties and dangers of 17th and 18th century navigation and the geography of the many islands of Tasmania.”

The Maritime Museum of Tasmania, the State Library, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Archives Office of Tasmania and the University of Tasmania are participating in the Tasmanian program.

There is a schools program, 10 new exhibitions and displays around the state, and a number of talks and presentations.

Community projects include this weekend’s (7 - 9 April) France to Freycinet goes Dutch festival. It will focus on the East Coast and include kite flying, drama, music and trips to Maria Island.

In November, Dunalley will host a community event to mark Abel Tasman’s only Tasmanian anchorage in 1642.

Two new maps are being produced including a new chart of 979 of Tasmania’s islands and rocks to be available in July from Tasmap.

Another map of great interest is Tasmania during the Ice Age showing the land bridge from the mainland to Tasmania when the Aboriginal people lived in a harsh and icy world. Produced by the Aboriginal Heritage Office, the map will be available in October followed by a new website and educational resource.

A highlight of the national program is the voyage of the Duyfken, which will make a year-long voyage to various coastal towns and cities of historic interest in all states.

The Duyfken is a replica of the Dutch ship which came to Australia in 1606, the first recorded time when Australian Aborigines met with people from the outside world. It was also the first recorded time when a part of Australia’s coastline was mapped.

The replica Duyfken was made using traditional materials, such as flax and hemp, and traditional construction methods including fire to bend the planks of the hull. Its visit to Tasmania in November and December this year will be of great interest to local boat builders and enthusiasts.

Australia on the Map media enquiries: Angela Bourke 6233 5741 0418 361 929

This initiative is part of the State Government’s commitment to progressing Tasmania Together Goal 21 – Value, protect and conserve our natural and cultural heritage.

The Mountain Festival

The Mountain Festival

The Mountain Festival is a community festival centered around Mt. Wellington in the South East of Tasmania. More...

We're still working on our program but in the mean time, please get in touch for details.

Publican trains apprentice beer-drinking pig. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

" I am amazed that the animal rights lobby hasn't got onto this ...

.. force feeding alcohol onto an animal for entertainment value is not very humane "
says zygomaturus

Publican trains apprentice beer-drinking pig. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

The Pub In the Paddock at Pyengana in north-east Tasmania has a new tourist drawcard.

The pub is world-famous for its beer-drinking pig named Priscilla, who can scull a watered-down stubby in seven seconds.

Priscilla is getting old, so a mischievous successor, Priscilla Babe, is being trained as a replacement.

Tourists from all over the world travel to Pyengana just to buy Priscilla a beer.

Owner Anne Free says it is crucial that she has a successor to keep her memory alive.

"I had a woman from Texas recently and she was so excited, she said, 'is this the pub with the beer drinking pig?'," she said.

"I said 'yes', she said ... 'I saw her on TV back home'."

Ms Free says training a pig to drink beer is not easy.

"Most pigs will drink beer, but you do have to train them to drink out of a bottle," she said.

"It did take her a while to get the taste, she sort of played with the bottle and still does play with the bottle, she's not the expert [that] Priscilla is."

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Lawyer highlights high Tas asbestos-related illness rate. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

Lawyer highlights high Tas asbestos-related illness rate. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

A Melbourne lawyer believes Tasmania's rates of asbestos-related illnesses are some of the highest in Australia.

Margaret Kent has been handling compensation cases for Tasmanians affected by asbestos for nine years.

Many cases are directly related to the Goliath Cement Factory in Railton, in the state's north, which was the third biggest producer of asbestos products in Australia.

Ms Kent says she alone takes on up to 20 new mesothelioma cases a year.

"They're going up significantly from a few years ago, there are a lot more people being diagnosed and coming forward with asbestos-related illnesses. Proportionate to the population it's a significant problem," she said.

Respiratory specialist Dr Jim Markos says about 5 per cent of lung cancer cases in Tasmania are caused by asbestos.

Age no barrier to competitive wood chopping. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

Age no barrier to competitive wood chopping. 03/04/2006. ABC News Online

Competitive wood chopping might be considered a young bloke's game but an 84-year-old Tasmanian has shown age is no barrier.

Retired tree feller and former wood chop title holder Henry Munday was a crowd favourite at the Hamilton Show north of Hobart at the weekend.

While he took almost five minutes longer than his competitors in the wood chop, he got there in the end, with the help of an old mate.

"That's an old plum axe, one of the old American plums, it's like me, it's pretty old," he said.

"But it's not a big axe, I don't use real big axes.

"I'm not strong enough now like those other big fellas out there to use big heavy axes so I use the lighter one.

"I can get knocked up with one of them without using a big heavy one."

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A LACK of aged care facilities is forcing elderly West Coasters to leave families and friends and abandon the area.

The Advocate Newspaper - Online Edition

"People are being forced off the West Coast because there's nowhere for them to go," West Coast mayor Darryl Gerrity said yesterday.

"There are probably hundreds of ex-West Coasters who are not close to relatives and families.

"They are isolated, they love the West Coast and if they had the opportunity to stay they would."

Cr Gerrity said he hoped a development plan for Strahan would set aside land for an aged care facility.

He said the council would then need to find a provider who wanted to set up on the West Coast.

Failing that, it might have to consider developing facilities itself.

"It is a cruel situation.

"We've been trying for some years to attract an interest from commercial operators.

"They have said there's not enough demand, but we could probably fill 15 units (immediately).

"These people are entitled, they have paid rates and taxes and contributed to West Coast growth.

"Now in their sunset years they deserve to be looked after.

"If no-one else is going to do it, it falls back to the council to address the issue as best we can."

Cr Gerrity said some residents had to leave when they became too frail to care for themselves.

Others living in "historic homes" were finding it impossible to keep up with escalating rates and maintenance needs, he said.

Full story available in today's edition of The Advocate.

Forest ad plea was `to all parties'

examiner.com.au : Forest ad plea was `to all parties'

¤ Greens advocacy denied
The Wilderness Society says it is confident that it would be vindicated by any investigation of advertising during last month's State election.

Society campaign coordinator Geoff Law said yesterday that the logging industry was wrong to claim Wilderness Society television advertisements screened during the State election campaign last month advocated voting for the Greens and were political.

Logging industry representatives want the society's tax-deductible status reviewed by the Federal Government, saying the advertisements went beyond environmental advocacy to political advocacy.

Mr Law said the logging industry was trying to stifle debate.

"We ran the advertisements about old- growth logging with the intention of getting positive policies from all political parties," he said.

"We stand by what we put in those television ads. The industry has tried this on before and in every case the Wilderness Society has been vindicated."

He said loggers were moving into previously untouched old-growth forests in the Upper Florentine and Styx valleys.

The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania could not be contacted yesterday.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Industry condemns 'misleading' forestry claims. 01/04/2006. ABC News Online

Industry condemns 'misleading' forestry claims. 01/04/2006. ABC News Online

The Tasmanian timber industry has hit back at the Wilderness Society's claims logging activity in southern Tasmania's Florentine Valley is destroying high conservation value forest.

Timber Communities Australia has accused the Wilderness Society and the Greens of misleading the public.

The Wilderness Society says Prime Minister John Howard has broken a promise to protect 18,700 hectares of old-growth forest in the Styx and Florentine valleys.

Spokesman Geoff Law says the logging industry is getting $250 million through the Community Forest Agreement.

"With these millions and millions of dollars being poured down the throat of the Tasmanian logging industry, why is it that we are still losing key areas of old-growth forest?" he said.

Timber Communities Australia says the areas are not that significant.

It says a 1989 report compiled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature affirms logging on the World Heritage boundary would not diminish the area's values.
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Monday, March 27, 2006

Danes to get huge hit of princess's home turf [25mar06]

The Mercury: Danes to get huge hit of princess's home turf [25mar06]

A PANORAMIC oil painting of the view from northern Bruny Island will wrap around an entire room of Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark next month.

The 30m oil painting by Monash University fine arts lecturer Ann Holt will be part of the Australian Visit exhibition in Copenhagen, to be opened by Princess Mary and featuring a portrait of her.

Ms Holt's impressive artwork is expected to be of great interest to Danes, as it includes the D'Entrecasteaux Channel area where Mary grew up.

"I now get to share these heart-felt paintings - of a very beautiful, special, quiet place - in a castle on the other side of the world," Ms Holt said.

"For me the really exciting thing is that I get to show my interpretation of the Tasmanian landscape to an international audience."

Ms Holt, of Melbourne, completed Circumnavigating the Island as part of her Master of Fine Arts at Monash. She spends a great deal of time living and painting on Bruny Island.

Circumnavigating the Island, comprising 30 seperate panels, has previously been featured in the 10 Days on the Island festival and on ABC's Arts Show.

It shows the mouth of the River Derwent, Storm Bay and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.

Ms Holt said she tried to capture Tasmania's multi-layered landscape.

"I've been going there for 10 years; I've done a lot of plain air painting of all the different views and I've got a very intimate engagement with that landscape," she said.

"Tasmania is incredibly beautiful but very dangerous and dark at times. It has all these incredible moods and it has this sense of power that a lot of landscapes have lost through over-urbanisation."

She will be in Copenhagen for the exhibition opening in the Danish Museum of National History in Frederiksborg Castle on April 7.

The exhibition runs until July 31.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

John Howard's sphincter

Although I'm going beyond Tassie's borders and into the realm of off-shore issues I thought I must make these observations.

Who said this recently?

“My government co-operated fully with the Volcker oil-for-food inquiry”.

Yep -- it was our PM

Now let's re-run the video-clip that captured John Howard's words -- and this time, watch the body language. There's the white-knuckle grip on the lectern, and thanks to the camera's oblique angle, we get to see a very nervous pelvic squirm. If the sphincterometer had been connected, it would have gone off-scale.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Think global : Nature

Think global : Nature

location based services

'Virtual globe' software is transforming our ability to visualize and hypothesize in three dimensions. Educators take note.

Millions of people across the world are zooming in from space, flying across continents, and swooping over mountains and through cities, thanks to Google Earth, NASA's World Wind and other free virtual globes.

The ability to model the Earth in exquisite three-dimensional detail was previously only approached on the desktops of professional users of geographical information systems (GIS). But even they were unable to publish high-resolution globes on the Internet, because of the sheer volume of the data — a globe with a resolution of one metre would take years to download using even a fast Internet connection. Virtual globes overcome this problem with elegant engineering, using a tiling structure that sends progressively higher-resolution data as one zooms in. This and other tricks drastically reduce the size of file transfers, and allow visualization with almost zero latency on a decent broadband connection.

Scientists are already experimenting with these tools to showcase their research to the public in visually appealing ways and to speed responses to natural disasters (see pages 776 and 787). Ultimately, such accurate digital representations promise to anchor and unify much digital information about the Earth, while also helping to integrate the efforts of researchers from many disciplines.

Scientists are already experimenting with these tools to showcase their research to the public and to speed responses to natural disasters.
Rita Colwell, a microbiologist and former head of the National Science Foundation, has described GIS as the "ultimate, original, multidisciplinary language". Her own research is a shining example. Realizing that cholera epidemics spread inland from the coast, she correlated them with seasonal plankton blooms, discovering on the way that the Vibrio cholerae bacteria that cause cholera associate with gravid copepods, helping to break open their egg sacs by secreting chitinases. She went on to use remote sensing for a global predictive system for epidemics. As she has said, a major need is "to appreciate the complex reactions that characterize ecosystems — it is too complex for any one discipline".

By making it child's play to share and view multiple large data sets, virtual globes lower the barrier to entry for scientists with little GIS experience. Visualization itself can lead to new insights. Having tasted such visualizations, many researchers will be tempted to go beyond them to exploit the full capacities of GIS science to analyse vast arrays of disparate data in their spatial context.

The opportunities and power of GIS are expanding rapidly because of converging technological trends. The quality of spatial and remote-sensing data is sharply increasing in many fields, as are data-mining techniques, which can help lead to new hypotheses. Mobile global positioning system (GPS) devices are raising the prospect of collecting location-specific information quickly and cheaply, making it possible for large networks of intelligent devices to map and monitor a release of toxic gas, for example, and predict its spread.

To meet such spatial opportunities, researchers and students will need training in spatial sciences. The risks of using computational packages as 'black boxes' are well known, and are even greater, if anything, with GIS. As GIS experts have noted: "The production of visually appealing, even statistically sound, results that do not reveal anything useful about either pattern or process is perhaps the greatest danger facing newcomers to this powerful technology" (Nature Rev. Microbiol. 1, 231–237; 2003). It is therefore encouraging to note that last week the US National Academy of Sciences called for the introduction of "spatial thinking", including GIS, into school curricula, and for government research agencies to launch research into the nature of the cognitive processes involved in such thinking.

Many outstanding minds, including Einstein, Faraday, Kekulé and Heisenberg, have attributed their key insights to the ability to think spatially. Let's hope that the upcoming generation of three-dimensional gamers and Google Earthers will yield even more spatially adept prodigies ready to confront global challenges.

Google Maps API Basic Tutorial

Google Maps API Basic Tutorial: "This tutorial is intended to help you create your own interactive maps using the Google API. Do take a look at the Google documentation first.
There are two ways to use this tutorial:
Read it and try to understand the principles involved.
Use the example files as templates. Paste the code into your own web page and change the API key and data. Read the 'potential pitfalls' sections, and try to avoid them.
Using the Google Map API is not easy if you don't have much Javascript experience.
If you find the Google documentation too difficult to understand, it's not because it's badly written it's just that the subject is not easy.
I've put together some of the concepts that are explained in the Google documentation to achieve some of the basic mapping applications that might be useful.
The tutorial covers some of the standard types of operations that you may like to perform. Each of the operations is covered twice, once using 'conventional' programming techniques and once using a slightly more elegant approach that makes use of the object-oriented language features.
If you're a programming newbie, or more familiar with non-object-oriented programming languages, then I suggest that you just follow the conventional programming sections.
If you're familiar with object-oriented programming, then why not try the object-oriented approach.
Conventional programming
Part 1 Markers with info windows
Part 2 Adding a clickable sidebar
Part 3 Loading the data from an XML file
Part 4 Getting directions
Part 5 Onload functions and external controls
Part 6 Images and Links in info windows
Part 7 Loading polyline data from an XML file
Part 8 Maps in articles

Object-oriented approach
Part 1 Markers with info windows
Part 2 Adding a clickable sidebar"

Google Code: Google Earth KML Tutorial

Google Code: Google Earth KML Tutorial

The Google Earth KML Document details everything you need to know to create and share information with the Google Earth client. If, however, you would like to jump right in and see some real examples of what you can do with KML, then this tutorial is for you.

All of the examples you will see here (and many more) are in the KML Tutorial file. Download that file to see what each of the following examples looks like in Google Earth.

Tip: If you want to see what the code looks like for any feature, you can simply click on the feature, right-click and select copy, and paste the content of the clipboard unto any text editor

Table of Contents:
1 Basic KML Documents
1.1 Placemarks
1.2 Descriptive HTML in placemarks
1.3 Ground Overlays
1.4 Paths
1.5 Polygons
2 Advanced KML Documents
2.1 Custom Styles
2.2 Screen Overlays
2.3 Network Links
3 CGI Scripting for KML
3.1 Generating a Random Placemark
4 View-Based Refresh Queries
4.1 Tracking a Point Directly Under Your View
5 KML Server Requirements
1 Basic KML Documents
The simplest kind of KML documents are those that can be authored directly inside the client. That is, you don't need to edit or create any KML in a text editor. Placemarks, ground overlays, paths and polygons can all be authored directly in the Google Earth client.
1.1 Placemarks
Open the Google Earth Tutorial KML file and expand the Placemarks subfolder. There, you will see three different types of placemark: simple, floating, and tethered. The KML code for the tethered placemark looks like this:

Tethered to the ground by a customizable tail
Tethethed placemark




Google Earth Community: Google Earth Community

Google Earth Community: Google Earth Community

Newbury Adds Location-Tracking Development Tools | March 20, 2006

InformationWeek Wireless Networking Newbury Adds Location-Tracking Development Tools March 20, 2006

Newbury Networks today announced an enterprise asset-tracking solution and a software development platform for emerging types of applications that incorporate location-based data from wireless networks.

Newbury’s Presence Platform integrates with WLAN infrastructure and includes a software development kit that allows users to define areas in a WLAN such as meeting rooms and offices and also allows users to set contextual guidelines for the type of content that can be accessed in these locations, according to Chuck Conley, vice president of marketing at Boston-based Newbury.

The platform works in conjunction with Active Asset, a new realtime tracking solution that uses Newbury’s Wi-Fi tags and WLAN management software to monitor the movements of items and people within an enterprise, Conley said.

Organizations that are deploying WLAN want to leverage their investments by adding customized services, Conley said. “Demand is strong for location and asset tracking, and pushing information to a device based on that information is becoming more of a need because wireless networks are becoming more ubiquitous,” he said.

Newbury’s core strength is the accuracy of its proprietary location-tracking algorithm, said Patrick Guerin, senior security analyst at Key Management Systems, a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based security solution provider.

“They have the best calibration out there and that’s important if you need to track assets with a high level of granularity,” he said.

Newbury, which has a partnership with Cisco Systems, San Jose, Calif., that allows its sensor software to run on Cisco’s Aironet 1100 and 1220 access points, expects to announce another significant deal with a major infrastructure player by mid-year, Conley said. Newbury also will be forging new alliances with other vendors to import its location technology to network ecosystems, he added.

Newbury plans to release the Presence Platform and Active Asset within the next two months. Active Asset will be priced starting at $12,995. Pricing for the Presence Platform wasn’t disclosed.

Greens loss means a pulp mill for Gunns - Business - Business - smh.com.au

Greens loss means a pulp mill for Gunns - Business - Business - smh.com.au

SHARES in woodchipper Gunns have been boosted by the end of fears that Tasmania would face a hung parliament or minority government.
Gunns yesterday rose 8c to $3.15, continuing price increases that started in the middle of last week when the market seemed to confirm expectations that the Lennon Government would be safely re-elected.
The Labor Party retained government, winning 14 of the 25 seats in the Tasmanian lower house, despite suffering a 2.3 per cent swing against it.
By contrast, the Tasmanian Greens, which had been tipped to be heading for a power-sharing role with Labor, took a battering. Following a fierce campaign where there were warnings that they would bring economic disaster on the state, the Greens now look likely to lose a seat and thus party status.
Despite the share price increase, Gunns remains the sixth worst-performing company in the benchmark ASX 200 index over the past 14 months.
With both major parties endorsing Gunns' proposed $1.4 billion pulp mill, the possibility of a hung parliament or more power to the Greens had emerged as a real threat to the company.
The group had threatened to take the mill to China if voters elected a minority government, providing Mr Lennon with handy ammunition to warn against voting for the Greens, which had been having an impact in the polls.
The mill is regarded as critical for the company's health, with analysts expecting its woodchip business to struggle until next year and timber products taking a hit due to a weaker housing market and manufacturers moving offshore. Gunns is now expected to go ahead with the pulp mill with Mr Lennon's government returned to office.