Updated: May 27, 2010
'Don’t believe the hype' on mining call to Traditional Owners
The Wilderness Society (Qld) Inc
27 May 2010.
Leading Australian conservation group, the Wilderness Society today accused Cape Alumina of stooping to desperation in a last ditch attempt by the junior mining company to persuade the Queensland Government into seriously compromising appropriate protections for the Wenlock River under the Wild Rivers Act.
The Wilderness Society believes Cape Alumina has been promoting to Traditional Owners the supposed benefits of mining their lands and waterways while downplaying the significant and long-lasting environmental impact it will cause.
"Cape Alumina have been making claims left, right and centre about how great their mine will be for jobs and for local Indigenous communities, without talking about the major ecological damage it will cause" stated Dr Tim Seelig, Queensland Campaigns Manager for the Wilderness Society.
"We are hearing that Cape Alumina is even guaranteeing that they will 'rehabilitate the land when they are finished', but it is simply not possible to rehabilitate the landscape to the way it was before strip bauxite mining. The damage done even by a short term mine like the one proposed is forever; the environment will never be the same." Dr Seelig said.
"The Wilderness Society believes we all need to be skeptical of the claims of this company right now, given that it does not even have a mining lease yet, so any promises they make at this stage cannot be guaranteed. They need to pass a number of environmental tests before they get a lease, and even then, there’s nothing to say they won't sell the mine on, perhaps to an overseas miner."
The Wenlock is one of Australia's healthiest and most spectacular river systems, home to fifty freshwater fish species,lush rainforest, freshwater springs and Queensland's best Saltwater crocodile breeding habitats. As well as destroying forests and wildlife habitat, the Wilderness Society believes the mine would pose an unacceptable erosion and pollution threat, as well as require extraction of millions of litres of water directly from the river.
The key issue in dispute is how large or small the buffer protection areas should be around a highly sensitive and ecologically special complex of springs which feed into the Wenlock River. Cape Alumina wants to build a new bauxite mine in the area and has sought to reduce proposed buffer zones down to just 200 meters.
The Wilderness Society has urged the government to recognise the threat posed by mining and other destructive development, and ensure the environment comes first in the case of the Wenlock River. The group recently called on Premier Bligh and Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson to "go the extra distance on this, declare the Wenlock a Wild River, and include buffer protection areas of one kilometre around the environmentally special Coolibah Springs Complex".
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Qld Inc - Brisbane
67 Boundary Street (upstairs)
West End, QLD, 4101
Phone: 07 3846 1420