New conservation areas announced by the Minister’s for Mining and Environment yesterday leave key species exposed to the threat of extinction by failing to protect their homes from mining.
“The Government has yet again ignored the strong advice of the EPA by leaving key areas important to protecting rare species open to mining,” said Conservation Council Director Piers Verstegen.
The new Conservation Parks (conservation areas that allow mining) and new Nature Reserve (protected from mining) fail to act on key EPA recommendations1 that an extended Nature Reserve must be established to protect the rare plants and animals found on Mt Manning and the Helena/Aurora Range.
Mt Manning and the Helena Aurora Range are part of the unique and spectacular Banded Ironstone Formation (BIF) Ranges. These ranges are hotspots of biodiversity and home to a unique suite of species. Some species of plant in this area, such as a number of unique rock crevice flowers called tetratheca, are so rare that they are confined to certain ridges within the range.
There are also rare and restricted species of animals living on the ranges, and even within the rocks of the ranges (subterranean animals called troglofauna).
A Strategic Review2 looking at mining and conservation across all BIF in the Midwest recommended that there be high levels of protection in the most important areas of BIF, these included the Mt Manning nature reserve as recommended by the EPA, and a new reserve at Mungada Ridge near Geraldton. This Government has already approved mining at Mungada Ridge, again against the advice of the EPA.
“The Banded Ironstone Ranges are like islands in the flat outback landscapes, their scenic peaks have evolved their own unique species of plants and animals. Currently, none of these rare ridges are protected from mining.”
“Three times they have recommended against mining and three times the Government of the day has overruled their advice. To balance mining and conservation, we need the extended Mt Manning Nature reserve as called for by the EPA, and again this advice has been ignored.”
“We call on the Government to fully protect the extended Mt Manning and Helena Aurora Range Nature Reserves from mining.”