The state’s peak environment group the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) has congratulated Environment Minister Stephen Dawson and the McGowan Government for today’s announcement rejecting the mining proposal for the Helena and Aurora Range, and signalling the protection of the area as a Class A Nature Reserve.
CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said the announcement was a great Christmas present for the environment and the region, which would help diversify the economy and protect unique environmental features.
“We congratulate Minister Dawson and the McGowan Government for upholding the EPA’s advice against mining in this unique place, and for signalling an intention to see the area permanently protected.
“This decision will not only protect unique biodiversity and landforms found nowhere else on Earth, but will provide a basis for diversifying the local economy away from mining and towards sustainable tourism and environmental management.
“The Banded Ironstone Ranges have long been recognised by scientists, conservationists, and Traditional Owners as places of great significance.
“The Helena and Aurora Range is the highest, largest, and most tortuous and undulating of all the Banded Ironstone Ranges in the region, and contains the highest biodiversity values of any Banded Ironstone Formation range.
“The Helena and Aurora Range is also one of the few remaining ranges in the Yilgarn region that remains almost untouched by any previous mining activities.
“With so many of these ranges already significantly transformed by mining, the protection of the Helena and Aurora Range is a high priority and it is pleasing to see that Minister Dawson and the McGowan Government have recognised that.
“There is a very strong and continuing community campaign led by a coalition of environment and community groups for the Helena and Aurora Range to be protected in a Class A National Park, and CCWA fully supports this campaign.
“We call on the mining industry to accept this decision and to recognise that there is a limit to the environmental impacts that mining can be allowed to have on our landscape.
“Resource proposals that would destroy areas of high environmental value are not acceptable and will face strong opposition from the community, as we have seen with the proposal to mine the Helena and Aurora Range.”