Friday, 14 July 2017

Adani mine 'spinning the roulette wheel' on survival of black-throated finch, researchers say

Posted about an hour ago

Mining giant Adani's strategy to ensure the survival of an endangered bird in the Galilee Basin is "grossly inadequate", researchers say, and they have called on the Federal Environment Minister to intervene.
Adani's proposed Carmichael Mine in central Queensland takes in one of the last remaining healthy habitats for the black-throated finch.
The Indian mining company has had a Biodiversity Offset Strategy and Species Management Plan to prevent the loss of habitat approved.
The Black-throated Finch Recovery Team, a group made up of experts working to ensure the bird's survival, has obtained Adani's documents under freedom of information laws and analysed the data in a report sent to Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg today.
April Reside from the recovery team described the plan as "grossly inadequate".
"The only way to avoid impact to a threatened species is to create those offsets and make sure they are working before you go and destroy the best-known habitat," Dr Reside said.
The report finds the conditions attached to the approval of Adani's proposed mine do not protect against the bird being wiped out and that the habitat proposed in offset areas is of lower quality compared to the mining areas.

Frustration experts were not consulted

Dr Reside said Adani's plan to conduct surveys twice a year to monitor the situation was not enough and was frustrated the expert team was not consulted as part of the process.
"It does seem like the processes haven't been followed on a number of different levels," she said.
"We recommend that the Environment Authority be changed to make sure the habitat offsets are in place and are working and black-throated finch numbers are increasing in those offset areas before any habitat is destroyed."
She said any further delays for Adani could have been prevented because the company could have developed the offset areas five years ago.

Recovery team chairman Tony Grice said the bird had become extinct in New South Wales and would face a similar fate in Queensland if their habitat was lost.
"The Carmichael mine happens to be in an area that is known to have a very large part of the remaining population of black-throated finches," he said.
Mr Grice said the key issue with Adani's offset plan was that it was in areas of inferior quality.
"There will be a very large net loss," he said.

Birdlife Australia slams 'closed-book consultation'

Birdlife Australia chief executive Paul Sullivan said the experts needed to be consulted.
"We believe the Queensland Government is doing a really poor, closed-book consultation process that's explicitly ignored expert advice, particularly the Black-throated Finch Recovery Team," Mr Sullivan said.
"The offset habitat that has been allocated for the bird is really low-quality habitat and there is no evidence to suggest that habitat can be rehabilitated.
"Effectively, if we go ahead we are really spinning the roulette wheel on the bird's future and it's not looking good."

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