For more than three decades attempts have been made to protect the unique plants and animals in the Mt Manning region from iron ore mining. Some of the plants and animals on the ranges in this area are so restricted that their entire range can be threatened by a single mining project.
It is a biodiversity hotspot within a hotspot, being an area of particularly high biodiveristy within the international biodiversity hotspot of SW WA, renowned for its extremely high diversity of plants.
Yesterday, the Ministers for Mining and Environment released a statement outlining plans for new reserves at Mt Manning, and whilst it was clearly based on the recommendations of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in their bulletin on protecting the area (Bulletin 1265) it stopped short of taking the hard decisions to protect key conservation areas on Mt Manning and the Helena Aurora ranges from mining.
Under the previous state Government good progress was made on the increasingly problematic issue of balancing mining development with conservation as the mining industry expansion into more of the environmentally sensitive areas of WA. In the case of the BIF this was done through a Strategic Review process involving both environment and mining departments. This report also recommended uptake of Bulletin 1265.
After having approved mining at Mungada Ridge, another of the biodiversity hotspots within the BIF identified by the Strategic Review, the Government needs to show it is taking this issue seriously by giving the needed protections to the critical BIF areas in the Mt Manning reserves.
More on the Banded Ironstone Formation ranges here.
And a suggested letter calling on the Premier to protect Mt Manning that you can download and send here.
(Image of Mt Manning Range courtesy of Brian Moyle, Wildflower Society of WA)