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Miner on trial for taking Stradbroke sand

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BRISBANE, Feb 18 AAP

February 18 2013, 7:42PM

The trial of a mining company accused of illegally taking sand from the world's second largest sand island has opened in Brisbane.

Unimin Australia allegedly took non-mineral sand from its mines on North Stradbroke Island to sell to local construction companies between 2005 and 2009.

Under its lease with the state government, Unimin can only extract mineral sands from its silica mines.

Any other sand must be used for mine rehabilitation.

The company is charged with one count of carrying out an environmentally relevant activity without a registration certificate and one count of carrying out assessable development without a permit.

The Queensland government is pursuing the charges.

The company's offices were first raided in December 2008 and government officers seized computers and files.

Since then, Unimin has lost a Supreme Court action against the state government in which it claimed its operations were legal.

It also lost an appeal to have the charges dropped.

About 35 witnesses will give evidence during the trial, which is expected to last for two weeks.